Blacks Receive Hospice Care At Lower Rate Than Whites

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Main Category: Public Health News
Article Date: 18 Jul 2007 – 17:00 PDT
Blacks receive hospice care at a disproportionately lower rate than whites in part because of cost, health insurance status and cultural factors, the AP/Florida Times-Union reports.

According to a 2005 survey by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, 82.2% of people receiving hospice care were white and 7.5% were black, compared with the entire U.S. population, which is 75% white and 12% black, according to the Census Bureau. The California HealthCare Foundation in March released a study that suggested minorities and immigrants view hospice care as a way for health care providers to refuse “the medical care [minority patients] have been fighting to get,” the AP/Times-Union reports.

John Radulovic, vice president of communications for the NHPCO, said, “Some people think that if a doctor wants them to stay home and not come into the hospital, that the medical system isn’t truly concerned about them.”

According to the AP/Times-Union, the hospice industry is “reaching out to blacks and the growing Hispanic population.” Some hospices are looking to churches and faith-based community settings as an avenue to educate minority populations about the benefits of hospice care. Hospices also are trying to hire more minority workers.

David Stone, executive director of the Alabama Hospice Organization, said, “When you’re dealing with someone at such a vulnerable time, it’s understandable that you’d want someone you feel you have a connection with” (Thomas, AP/Florida Times-Union, 7/15).

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