Racial disparities in readmissions higher at 'minority-serving' hospitals

May 20, 2010

Racial disparities in readmissions for heart failure are mainly seen at the site at which care is provided, researchers report.

Using national Medicare data from 2006-07, researchers designated hospitals as "minority-serving" based on the proportion of black patients treated. In the study, 40 percent of all black patients and 5 percent of all white patients were cared for at minority-serving hospitals.

The researchers found:

  • Overall, black patients had slightly higher 30-day readmission rates (24.1 percent) than white patients (23.3 percent).
  • At minority-serving hospitals, black patients had slightly higher readmission rates than white patients (26.2 percent versus 25.1 percent).
  • At non-minority-serving hospitals, there were no disparities in readmissions (23.3 percent versus 23.1percent).
    Heart failure is the most common cause of hospitalizations and readmissions in the program. Improving efforts at poor-performing, minority-serving hospitals could increase quality of care for all patients and reduce racial healthcare disparities, researchers said.

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