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Physicians treating Latinos have high hurdles to jump, study shows
Date:10/12/2011

Experts have written about health care disparities between Latinos and non-Latino whites, mostly from a policy standpoint. They've also looked at the same disparities from the perspective of the patient, in terms of access, use and the quality of health care.

But how do the physicians feel about the quality of care they provide? What challenges do doctors face in treating Latino patients, compared with physicians whose patients are primarily white and non-Latino?

Research out of UCLA and the City University of New York has found that primary care physicians who treat Latinos are less likely than physicians treating primarily white patients to believe they can provide high-quality care. Among the reasons: inadequate time with patients, patients' lack of ability to afford care, patients not adhering to recommended treatments, and difficulties in communicating.

The study appears in the current edition of the journal Health Affairs.

Researchers used data from the 2008 Community Tracking Physician Survey, a nationally representative sample of U.S. physicians that included demographic information and patient characteristics.

"From this survey, we analyzed physicians' self-reported ability to provide high-quality care to Latinos and compared it to that of physicians treating primarily whites," said Arturo Vargas-Bustamante, an assistant professor of health services at the UCLA School of Public Health and lead author of the study along with Jie Chen, an assistant professor at CUNY's College of Staten Island.

Latinos differ from other minority patients in their socioeconomic and demographic characteristics, as well as their patterns of health care access, use and spending, Vargas-Bustamante said, and these differences are likely to influence physicians' perceptions of the quality of care they deliver.

Latinos represent more than 15 percent of the U.S. population, he noted, and they c
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Contact: Mark Wheeler
mwheeler@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-2265
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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