22% of Black parents face unfair healthcare treatment: Study

More than 1 in 10 parents have experienced unfair treatment in healthcare settings in the past year because of their race or ethnicity, socioeconomic status or physical appearance, according to a July 31 report from the Urban Institute. 

For the report, the Washington, D.C.–based think tank surveyed a nationally representative sample of 9,494 adults — including 2,981 parents of children under age 19 — in June 2022.  

Four survey findings:

1. Overall, 13 percent of parents reported being treated or judged unfairly in healthcare settings in the past 12 months. This rate sat at 22 percent for Black parents — 10 percentage points higher than that of white or Hispanic/Latinx parents.  

2. Three percent of all parents and 9 percent of Black parents said their kids were treated or judged unfairly because of their race, ethnicity, country of origin or primary language.  

3. About 71 percent of parents who experienced unfair treatment reported disruptions to their healthcare.

4. Forty percent of Black parents and 30 percent of Hispanic/Latinx parents shared concerns that they or a family member would be treated unfairly in future healthcare visits. 

"Prior experiences with unfair treatment in healthcare settings and anticipation of unfair treatment in future encounters could create long-lasting adverse consequences for children and their parents," the Urban Institute said. "Changes in the healthcare system will be required to provide high-quality, respectful, culturally effective and evidence-based care to all children and their parents, including Black parents and parents of color." 

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