Health Affairs journal showcases a new study proving that racial disparities still exist within hospital and health care settings. It was found that black Medicare patients have a much higher chance for readmission after surgery compared to white Medicare patients. The University of Rochester Medical Center Department of Public Health Sciences has one question: how can we begin to understand why Medicare Advantage plans are not successful when it comes to racial disparity reduction? Medicare is the most common plan for beneficiaries, but Medicare Advantage covers around thirty percent of them. Medicare Advantage is a private plan, and the insurers that run them are eager to lessen hospital use for their patients. Hospital readmissions are a huge cause of skyrocketing health care costs, so the health field in general is very motivated to reduce the rates.
In order to complete this study, researchers examined the State of New York’s database for six major surgeries. The patients were all over the age of 65 and the surgeries included: endovascular repair of abdominal aortic aneurysm, colectomy, hip replacement, pulmonary lobectomy and more. After the data was collected, they found that when it comes to traditional Medicare, black patients had a thirty-three percent higher readmission rate. Black patients who have Medicare Advantage plans were also found to have a sixty-four percent higher readmission rate. Researchers concluded that this data likely has to do with low quality surgeries, less follow-up care, less community support, and prejudiced providers.
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