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Minorities, whites get equal care in hospitals
Date:3/11/2008

COLLEGE PARK, Md. A University of Maryland study of whether people receive different quality of hospital care because of their race or ethnicity found that when whites and minorities are admitted to a hospital for the same reason, they receive the same quality care in that hospital.

The study led by Darrell Gaskin, health economist in the University of Marylands department of African American Studies, appears in the March 11 issue of Health Affairs. The study of 1841 hospitals in 13 states compares the quality of treatment for blacks, Hispanics and Asians to that of whites over a broad range of services. It found that only a few hospitals provide lower quality care to minorities than to whites.

The good news, said Gaskin, is that if you come to the hospital for care, youre probably getting the same quality as everyone else in that hospital.

The study also may help pinpoint where improvements need to be made to reduce the significant health care disparities that are known to exist because of race, ethnicity and income. Our study confirms that all patients in low performing hospitals are at higher risk for mortality and complications. We need to focus on improving those low performers as opposed to hospitals nationwide, Gaskin said. Our results also suggest that we need to look more carefully at other areas to find where disparities are originating, such as getting access to the good hospitals in the first place.

Surprised at Findings

Gaskin admits he was surprised at the results of the three-year study. Earlier studies that looked at only a few specific conditions, such as cardiac care, and used general estimating equations, have shown quality differences based on race.

What made this study different, Gaskin said, is that we compared a broader range of services and directly compared hospital-specific quality indicators for racial and ethnic groups. We examined rates of mortality and complications whether something bad
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Contact: Ellen Ternes
eternes@umd.edu
301-405-4627
University of Maryland
Source:Eurekalert

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