Racial segregation is common in urban hospital markets
Some of the least racially inclusive hospitals in the U.S. are located in the same cities — even within blocks, in some cases — as some of the most inclusive hospitals, according to a new report from the Lown Institute.
Why it matters: In a year that has highlighted racial inequities in healthcare, the analysis shows the segregation still playing out at hospitals across the nation.
Details: Lown, a health care think tank, looked at looked the demographics of more than 3,200 hospitals’ Medicare patients compared to the demographics of hospitals’ surrounding communities.
- In the 50 most inclusive hospitals, people of color made up 61% of patients on average. At the 50 least inclusive hospitals, people of color made up 17% of the patients on average, the report said.
- Atlanta and Los Angeles leaned heavily toward non-inclusive hospitals, while Washington, D.C. had a closer mix.
- As Axios' Bob Herman has previously reported, cash-strapped safety-net hospitals are more likely to treat patients who are people of color, while wealthier facilities treat more white patients. But safety-net hospitals lack the resources of their more affluent counterparts, which exacerbates disparities in health outcomes.
What they’re saying: “If you want to see structural racism, just look at big city hospitals during COVID. Hospitals with a history of serving communities of color needed refrigerator trucks to hold bodies of deceased patients, while wealthier hospitals nearby had empty beds,” said Vikas Saini, president of the Lown Institute.