Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in health Care
Health care service in the U.S. significantly improved during several last decades. However, there are numerous problematic issues regarding the racial and ethnic minorities that have an adverse impact on the quality of service and progression of the illnesses. Some disparities befall because of the problems with insurance status, medical need, and low income. Nevertheless, many facts prove that racial and ethnic inequality exists even considering these aspects. Thus, the analysis of the problem is focused on the extent of the racial and ethnic disparities and studying of such factors as social determinants, access to healthcare, and financial ability of the individual that is reflected on the quality of the health care service.
Disparities Caused by the Racial and Ethical Issues
The investigation is based on the broad analysis of the relevant literature, studying of the real life examples, and gaining of the insights from the commissioned papers and public data. The study helped to identify that number of deaths because of the heart decease, cancer, and diabetes is higher among the racial and ethnic minorities. Such phenomenon occurs because of the historical aspects and social inequality in many sectors of American life. Numerous sources which include the health system, providers of the health care, planning managers, and patients also substantially contribute to the racial and ethnic disparities. Moreover, the other significant derivative of the problem is stereotypes, biases, prejudices, and medical uncertainty. As a result, that issue needs a thorough research that will assist the responsible specialists in distinguishing the core of the problem. One should pay attention to the specific question of rejection the standard treatment by the racial and ethnic minorities.
The analyzed data showed that the severity of the problem varies by population, region, and institution. The difference in care between the U.S. people and Africans are the most frequently documented but the problem also concerns the other racial and ethnic groups. The analyzed documents showed that African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians more often emphasize the lower satisfaction with the health care. Numerous physicians also report that they have problems with providing the effective treatment because of the communication barriers and concrete biological issues.
The patients insured by the private companies and patients who are beneficiaries of the public funding also often face disparities. For example, the white patients receive the higher level of care visiting as well as more often colonoscopies and mammograms than African Americans. Besides, the analysis of the medical managed care showed that minority groups are less likely to get beta-blockers after myocardial infarction. Many people believe that blacks and whites receive the equal quality of care. The interviewing of physicians proved their conviction that disparities in health care are very rare especially concerning the race and ethnicity. Thus, the challenge lies not in the debating whether the differences exist because a lot of the examples impress but in the implementation and developing the effective strategy to eliminate it inducing the recognition of the problem by the public and professionals that will reduce its further occurrence.
Analysis of the Factors, which Cause Racial and Ethnic Disparities
- a) Social Determinants
The main factors of the racial and ethnic disparities occurrence comprise social determinants and access to the healthcare. Social determinants are based on the cultural barriers, problems with nurse-patient interaction, biological influences, and income level. Moreover, there are many examples when patients who do not speak English have limited access to the interpretation service that forms definite barriers to the effective communication. Even when such patients are able to deliver information easily, the cultural aspects provoke difficulties in navigation of the communication.
The financial constraints, lack of time, and stereotypes cause problems with awareness of the real health problem of the patient that impedes concentration of the physician on the peculiarities of the health condition of the race and ethnic minorities. Furthermore, the negative cycle may occur because of the particular financial structure that is based on the cost-containment pressure. It would also be rational to pay attention to the preferences of the patient that can vary depending on the cultural aspects. The researchers note that patients within some groups may overuse, prefer, or refuse certain treatment. In addition, some of them even postulated that a biological reaction to the drugs is strongly connected with the race. The other problematic aspect, which forms a social determinant, is the sufficiency level of the patient. Usually, the race and ethnic minorities are poor, which affects the quality of the health care service.
- b) Access to Healthcare
The analysis showed that racial and ethnic minorities have lower rates of health insurance. Approximately one-half of Hispanics whose age is lower than 65 years reported that they were not insured in the past year, which causes one of the significant problems that complicates access to the healthcare.
The study also helped to identify that racial minorities usually live in the distinct communities where the quantity of health provider is limited. They often face the problem of transportation because of the car absence and lack of the local traffic. Besides, the rural regions, where usually minorities live, have fewer health care centers and hospitals. However, in the urban areas the buses are often too stuffed, which complicates the transportation of the individual. Moreover, minorities very often face various discriminative aspects regarding the access to the health care such as the challenges to get the time off work for visiting a doctor. Thus, they often refuse to address the specialist to provide a medical evaluation aimed at identifying the preventive care because that will make them overcome numerous obstacles. Consequently, people try to find more accessible and less cost-effective alternatives to solve the problem.
Discussion of the Reasons and Ways of the Problem Solution
The analysis showed that the problem of race and ethnic disparities needs further studying and evolving of the government to eliminate it. The health of the country depends on the health of every individual including racial and ethnic groups. The investigations of the biologists showed that infection could spread from the underserved groups to the broader public very fast. Therefore, providing an inappropriate and inferior quality of care to one part of the population may also result in its spread over the country. The “lower-end” health care plans contain the disproportionate number of minorities. Such a fragmentation spoilt the stability of relations between the providers of the health-care service and patients. Therefore, the investigation is induced to recognize the fact that disparities can be reduced by improving the quality of communication within the healthcare delivery system. The structure of the payment method should be changed, which will help to provide an adequate service to the minorities. For example, it would also be rational to employ the racial and ethnic minorities as healthcare professionals. Additionally, it is important to pay more attention to the enforcement of the civil rights violation which can be achieved with the help of supplying more resources to the Office of Civil Rights within the Department of Health and Human Service. Furthermore, it would be effective to organize specific trainings for the medical personnel that will improve the cross-cultural knowledge for the treatment of the racial and ethnic minorities.
In conclusion, disparities in the health care not only concern the racial issues but also play a pivotal role in the formation of a different healthcare status between the ethnic and racial groups. Such an aspect negatively influences the development of the communities that belong to the minorities. Besides, that phenomenon may affect the economic and health well-being of the nation because the health of the smaller group of people is tightly connected with the health of the whole country. Thus, it is crucial to raise that question on the higher level involving the government and responsible organization who will initiate compiling of the necessary data and identify the ways of the problem solution.
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