Black patients are less likely than whites to be hospitalized at private academic medical centers in New York City, a new study has found. Those findings resurrect the hot-button belief that some private hospitals with deep pockets leave care for the sickest and poorest patients to a struggling public hospital system. Some hospitals already have pushed back against the study's findings and its implications that New York City's hospital system is a highly segregated one.
The study, published in the International Journal of Health Services, concluded that in New York City, black patients were two to three times less likely than whites to be discharged from these private academic medical centers, which are often perceived as providing superior medical care. It also found that uninsured patients were five times less likely than privately insured patients to be discharged from these hospitals.
In general, researchers found, patients at New York academic medical centers were older and more likely to be white and commercially insured, compared to patients at non-academic medical centers. They compared those statistics to academic medical centers in Boston, where minorities were overrepresented and patients were younger, more likely to be privately insured, and less likely to be white.
In both cities, a patient who was uninsured or who had Medicaid was less likely to end up at an academic medical center than a privately insured patient, the study found.
For their study, the researchers, who also came from Boston Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, analyzed the race/ethnicity and insurance coverage of adults discharged from hospitals in New York City in 2009 and 2014 and in Boston in 2009. They used data from New York City's Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System database and from the Massachusetts Center for Health Information and Analytics. —Elizabeth Whitman