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Black Americans Often Face Discrimination in Health Care

TUESDAY, April 6, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Black Americans are much more likely to report discrimination or unfair judgment when seeking health care than whites or Hispanics, researchers report.

"Discrimination and unfair judgment in a health care setting can result in serious ramifications to health and have cumulative adverse effects on people's lives," said study author Dulce Gonzalez, a research associate at the Urban Institute.

Gonzalez's team analyzed data from the institute's Coronavirus Tracking Survey of non-elderly adults conducted from Sept. 11-28, 2020.

The researchers found that 10.6% of Black adults reported discrimination or unfair judgment by a health care provider or their staff based on race, ethnicity, disability, gender, sexual orientation or health condition, compared with 4.5% of Hispanic adults and 3.6% of white adults.

Rates were particularly high among Black women (13.1%) and Black adults with low incomes (14.6%).

Overall, 5.1% of all non-elderly adults said they'd been discriminated against or judged unfairly while seeking health care.

Race or ethnicity was the most common reason cited by people for perceived discrimination or unfair judgment: 3% of all adults and 7.9% of Black adults did so, according to the analysis that was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

"This analysis finds that Black adults, particularly Black women and Black adults with low incomes, were more likely than other adults to report that they had experienced discrimination or to feel that they had been unfairly judged by a health care provider or their staff, which is largely consistent with findings from other surveys," Gonzalez said in an institute news release.

The study was published April 5 by the Urban Institute.

"The continued prevalence of discrimination and unfair treatment in health care settings, particularly for Black individuals, cannot be tolerated anymore," said Mona Shah, senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

"Tackling health inequities stemming from racism or unfair treatment requires public policy, industry practices, and medical education that builds trust and addresses implicit bias and the historical roots of racism in the medical system," she said in the release.

More information

The RAND Corp. has more on health disparities.

SOURCE: Urban Institute, news release, April 5, 2021

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