Where heart attack victims go for medical care -- more than patients' race or ethnicity -- significantly determines the quality of care they receive, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study of 110,175 patients treated at more than 1,480 hospitals from 1999 to 2002 compared how quickly white and minority patients received a drug or balloon procedure to improve blood flow. Minority patients received drug therapy or balloon therapy 7 minutes and 19 minutes later, respectively, than white patients. The discrepancy was particularly true for black patients. However, the disparity narrowed when researchers accounted for individual hospitals' mean times to treatment. "Our findings reveal that a substantial portion of the racial and ethnic disparity in time to treatment is accounted for by the hospital to which a patient is admitted, in contrast to differential treatment by race and ethnicity inside the hospital," the authors wrote. Read an abstract. -- by Melanie Evans
Not all 'racial' disparities due to race: study
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