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 Medicare program. Improving efforts at poor-performing, minority-serving hospitals could increase quality of care for all heart failure patients and reduce racial healthcare disparities, researchers said.
Explore further: 'Ice Bucket Challenge' passes $100 mn mark