Whites and minorities receive the same quality of care when they are admitted to the hospital for the same reason or to receive the same procedure, according to a new study in the March/April edition of Health Affairs.
Using state inpatient discharge data from 2000 to 2003 from a total of 13 states, with data from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the Texas Department of State Health Services and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Qualitys Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, researchers found racial disparities in the overall mortality and adverse-event rates for patients, but did not find major differences in the quality of care across racial categories within hospitals.
For example, in 73 comparisons, minority patients had statistically higher risk-adjusted mortality and adverse-event rates compared with white patients six times, and lower risk-adjusted rates 21 times. But in comparing quality of care, results showed minority patients did not receive lower quality of care and might actually have received higher quality of care than white patients in the same hospital. The report also said most prior research demonstrates racial and ethnic disparities in cardiovascular care and the receipt of surgical and major therapeutic and diagnostic procedures, but not in health outcomes. -- by Jessica Zigmond
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