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Black and Hispanic communities say medical doctors and hospitals deal with them otherwise to their white counterparts


With the COVID-19 pandemic raging and black and Hispanic patients at an overwhelming risk of hospitalization and death, new research suggests how strained the doctor-patient relationship can be in minority communities.

Nearly a third (30%) of Black patients in California and 13% of Hispanic patients think their doctor saw and treated them differently because of their skin color or ethnicity. Only 3% of white patients felt the same way.

Nineteen percent of black patients believed that because of their race they couldn’t get the treatment they needed, while nine percent of Hispanic patients felt the same way. One percent of the white patients agreed.

Black and Hispanic patients were more likely than white patients to report that they were treated differently based on their income and insurance provider.

That emerges from a study published this week by the American Academy of Family Physicians that looked at the barriers that prevent strong patient-doctor relationships – bonds that make open conversation and patient trust in treatment more sensitive enable medical matters.

According to researchers at the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, patients who did not have a single primary care provider were far more suspicious than those who did.

Such perceptions do not seem unfounded.

In November, members of the American Medical Association, a professional body, admitted that while structural racism may cause mixed health outcomes, “racism and unconscious biases in medical research and health care have and continue to cause marginalized communities and cause harm to society as a whole. ”

Finding ways to end exercising is critical, the authors of the latest report said. “Perceived discrimination correlates with medical mistrust,” they wrote. If perception does indeed inspire suspicion, “reducing this discrimination can improve confidence in doctors and reduce disparities in health outcomes.”

The researchers surveyed more than 2,300 patients in 2019 well before the pandemic began. But the stakes in building a better bond are higher than ever.

In the first half of 2020 alone, Black and Hispanic patients made up 58% of all people hospitalized with coronavirus and 53% of those who died from the virus, according to researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine and Duke University School of Medicine.

According to data from Johns Hopkins University, there are 22.86 million cases and 381,130 deaths in the US as of Wednesday.

Surveys show that many people in black and Hispanic communities are concerned about a COVID-19 vaccine, reflecting a wider hesitation.

In a fall poll of black Americans, 14% said the vaccine was safe and 18% said it would work. In the same study, 34% of Hispanic Americans surveyed said the vaccine would be safe and 40% effective.

While researchers at the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science focused on the patient-doctor relationship, ongoing research from the RAND Corporation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has explored people’s broader attitudes towards race and public health during the pandemic.

After a first round of poll results were published in October, the second round came out on Wednesday. The sample of more than 4,000 people is over-represented with Black, Hispanic, and Asian Americans.

Attitudes towards race and public health have remained largely unchanged from the first wave to the last. In both waves of results, a substantial 50% of respondents agreed that “racism is a public health crisis”.

Slightly more people agreed with the statement that more people of color who die from COVID-19 are “just another example of racial injustice in this country”. Those in agreement rose from almost 36% to 38%.

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