Racial Discrimination in Healthcare: A Summary of the KFF Survey

People of Color Face Racial Discrimination in Healthcare, New Survey Finds.

A recent survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) reveals the disturbing reality of racial discrimination in the U.S. healthcare system. The study, which surveyed nearly 6,300 patients, highlights the significant disparities in treatment and experiences faced by people of color compared to their white counterparts.

Key findings:

  • People of color report feeling the need to dress differently or hide aspects of their identity to avoid discrimination from healthcare providers.
  • Compared to white patients, people of color are less likely to report positive interactions with healthcare providers, such as feeling listened to, involved in decision-making, or having their cultural values respected.
  • One in three adults reported experiencing negative interactions with providers, such as assumptions without asking or blaming them for health problems.
  • One in four people of color believe they received negative treatment due to their race or ethnicity.
  • Black women are disproportionately affected, with 22% reporting being denied pain medication during pregnancy or childbirth compared to 10% of white women.
  • People who experience discrimination in healthcare are more likely to avoid seeking medical help or switch providers frequently, leading to worse health outcomes.
  • Everyday discrimination also has negative health consequences, with those experiencing it twice as likely to report anxiety, loneliness, or depression.
  • Black people with darker skin tones are more likely to face discrimination than those with lighter skin.
  • Diversity among healthcare providers is important. Patients of color who see providers of their own race or ethnicity report better experiences and are more likely to discuss social and economic factors that affect their health.
  • The survey highlights the need for increased recruitment of people of color into the healthcare field to address racial bias and improve health outcomes for all.

Calls to Action:

  • Increase diversity among healthcare providers: This can improve patient experiences and reduce healthcare disparities.
  • Address implicit bias among healthcare professionals: Training and education can help healthcare providers recognize and address their own biases.
  • Expand access to healthcare for minorities: This includes ensuring affordable coverage and addressing transportation and other barriers.

The KFF survey highlights the urgent need to address racial bias and discrimination in the U.S. healthcare system. By taking action to address these issues, we can create a more equitable and just healthcare system for all.

Overall, the survey reveals the persistent and widespread nature of racial discrimination in healthcare and its negative impact on the health of people of color. It emphasizes the importance of addressing bias in the healthcare system and increasing diversity among providers to ensure equitable access to quality care for all.


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