Health care affected by race/ethnicity
The findings aren't all black and white. The color of your skin affects the quality of the health care or receive, or at least perceive.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released its annual report, "Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care in Medicare Advantage” this month. The report includes 26 clinical care measures, which are broken down into four racial/ethnic groups: 1) Asians or Pacific Islanders (includes Native Hawaiians), 2) Blacks, 3) Hispanics and 4) Whites.
"Data are reported separately for specific racial/ethnic groups because there is evidence that quality of care…may be different for different groups," according to the report.
Key findings from the report:
- A least 95 percent of all Medicare enrollees aged 65 and older had an ambulatory or preventive care visit in 2015.
- Elderly Asians or Pacific Islanders and blacks with dementia were more likely than whites with dementia to have not been dispensed a potentially harmful medication, nearly 60 and 58 percent compared to 52 percent. Hispanics were more than 13 percent less likely than whites to have not been dispensed a potentially harmful medication, such as antiemetics, antipsychotics, benzodiazepines, tricyclic antidepressants, H2 receptor antagonists, nonbenzodiazepine hypnotics or anticholinergic agents.
- Elderly Asians or Pacific Islanders and blacks with a history of falls were at least 11 percentage points more likely than whites with a history of falls to have not been dispensed a potentially harmful medication, including anticonvulsants, nonbenzodiazepine hypnotics, selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, (SSRIs), antiemetics, antipsychotics, benzodiazepines or tricyclic antidepressants.
- Medicare beneficiaries of color age 65 and older with chronic renal failure were 2.4 to 9.5 percentage points less likely than whites to have not been dispensed a potentially harmful medication, such as cyclo-oxygenase (Cox), 2 selective nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or nonasprin (NSAIDs).
- More Hispanics (76.8 percent) and Asian or Pacific Islanders (75.1 percent) aged 50 to 75 reported receiving appropriate screening for colorectal cancer than whites (64.2 percent).
- White women aged 50 to 74 were screened by at least 4 percentage points less than other racial/ethnic groups for breast cancer.
- White women aged 67 to 85 who suffered a fracture were least likely than other racial/ethnic groups to have had either a bone mineral density test or prescription for a drug to treat osteoporosis six months after fracture.
Clinical data were collected through medical records and insurance claims for hospitalizations, medical office visits and procedure from Medicare Advantage plans as part of the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set.
Nicole was Senior Editor at I Advance Senior Care and Long Term Living Magazine 2015-2017. She has a Journalism degree from Kent State University and is finalizing a master’s degree in Information Architecture and Management. She has extensive studies in the digital user experience and in branding online media. She has worked as an editor and writer for various B2B publications, including Business Finance.