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Patients of Color Expect Discrimination

55% of Blacks feel the need to be careful at medical visits
by Bruce Japsen

More than half of Black, Hispanic, and American Indian adults say they have to be “careful about their appearance or prepare for insults during healthcare visits.” 

An analysis from KFF, formerly the Kaiser Family Foundation, looks at how pervasive racism and discrimination can be in daily life, including something as personal as healthcare. The KFF Survey on Racism, Discrimination and Health was conducted online and via telephone with more than 6,200 adults June 6-August 7, 2023.

“Many Hispanic, Black, Asian, and American Indian and Alaska Native adults in the U.S. believe they must modify both their mindset and the way they look to stave off potential mistreatment during health care visits,” according to the analysis of KFF’s 2023 Survey on Racism, Discrimination and Health.

Among those who used healthcare services in the last three years, the survey found 60% of Black adults, 52% of American Indian and Alaska Native adults; 51% of Hispanic adults; and 42% of Asian adults said they prepare for “possible insults from providers or staff and/or feel they must be very careful about their appearance to be treated fairly during health care visits at least some of the time.”

The negative experiences those surveyed were asked about included a medical care provider assuming something about the patient without ask- ing and “suggesting they were personally to blame for a health problem; ignoring a direct request or question; or refusing to prescribe pain medication they thought they needed.”

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