BOSTON --A new study published in the Journal for Healthcare Quality reveals that care for minority patients is highly concentrated among a small number of providers in both the private sector and among hospitals in the Veterans Affairs healthcare system.
The presence of racial and ethnic disparities in health care is well known overall, but little is known about why these gaps in care exist. There is increasing focus on the role that the site of care may play in alleviating health care disparities.
Led by Ashish K. Jha, MD, MPH, of the Harvard School of Public Health, researchers assessed differences in mortality rates between Black and White veterans across 150 VA hospitals for any six conditions between 1996 and 2002.
Results found that thirty percent of Black veterans (nearly 1 in 3) received care at just nine out of 150 VA hospitals. This high degree of concentration among minority patients likely corresponds to the geographic concentration of Black patients within a small number of communities throughout the U.S.
“Focused efforts at specific institutions may be a key strategy to close any gaps in any racial and ethnic disparities,” Jha concludes.