Doctors and Nurses
Primary care physicians who treat a large share of black and Hispanic patients typically earn less; see more Medicaid beneficiaries and a greater number of patients overall; provide more charity care; and receive lower private insurance payments than their counterparts who treat fewer black and Hispanic patients, according to a study in Health Affairs.
The researchers found that this group of physicians also reported more problems providing high-quality care, including communication problems due to language barriers and difficulty obtaining specialty care because of patients' lack of sufficient health insurance. Physicians also reported that a shortage of time during office visits prevented them from providing high-quality care.
The study concluded that low Medicaid payments are a contributing factor to the lower quality of care that physicians report providing to minority patients and that higher program payments could lead to better-quality care and reductions in racial and ethnic health disparities (Reschovsky/O'Malley, Health Affairs, 4/22).