Racial, Ethnic Health Disparities Persist in California, Study Says
Black Californians are two to three times more likely than other racial or ethnic groups to be hospitalized for preventable conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease, according to a new report by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, the Sacramento Business Journal reports.
OSHPD's second annual report on racial and ethnic health disparities found general improvement across most of the 16 outpatient care measures and 15 hospital inpatient measures studied between 1999 and 2007.
However, the study found that significant disparities still exist, particularly in outpatient care. The findings suggest that after patients are admitted to a hospital, health outcomes are relatively similar across racial and ethnic groups (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 1/3).
Hospitalization Rates Among Blacks
As of 2007, the most recent year for which data are available, black residents had the highest hospitalization rate in California at about 13%. The study also listed hospitalization rates for other populations, including:
- Whites, at 11%;
- Latinos, at 8.6%;
- Asians, at 6.7%; and
- Native Americans, at 3.9%.
Although studies have shown that black individuals might be more prone to chronic diseases, state officials said other factors could be creating disparities, such as:
- Demanding work schedules;
- Insufficient access to quality outpatient health care;
- Lack of health insurance; and
- Lack of transportation (Hennessey-Fiske, Los Angeles Times, 1/4).
According to the report, hospitalization and mortality rates for certain health conditions differed by population group. The study found that:
- Hispanics had the highest rate of hospitalization for severe vomiting and/or diarrhea in children;
- Whites had the highest mortality rate for congestive heart failure; and
- Asian/Pacific Islanders had the highest mortality rate for heart attack, stroke, pneumonia, coronary artery treatment and coronary bypass graft surgery (Sacramento Business Journal, 1/3).