Black Heart-Patients Don’t Receive Top Hospital Treatment

Black Heart-Patients Don’t Receive Top Hospital Treatment

Researchers say that whites are more likely to go to “higher-quality” hospitals than Blacks.

Published June 13, 2011

A new study finds that Black Americans are less likely than white Americans to go to a hospital that performs potential life-saving heart procedures after suffering from a heart attack.


Although on average, African-Americans live closer to the best hospitals, they were 13 percent less likely than whites to be admitted to those hospitals.


The study conducted by the University of California looked at Medicare records for 65,633 patients who were treated for heart attacks in 2005. The results suggested that whites were more likely to go to a “high-quality” hospital.


Hospitals were scored based on their death rate over thirty days, and whether the hospital met certain standards for treating heart attacks such as starting patients on aspirin or heart-drugs called beta-blockers.


For the top 20 percent of hospitals, 25 percent of white patients were admitted compared to 21 percent of Black patient.


Conversely, in the bottom 20 percent of hospitals, Black patients led the pack. 11 percent were taken to the lower-quality hospitals, compared to 9 percent of whites.


The study did not analyze how the patients got to the hospital—whether it was on their own or by ambulance.

 (Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Written by Danielle Wright


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