Black and Hispanic patients more likely to receive unnecessary care than whites, Yale researchers find

A new study from Yale finds minority patients receive more low-value care, which is medically unnecessary and expensive, than their white counterparts.

The study looked into 11 select low-value treatments, such as inappropriate use of imaging for lower-back pain, cardiac testing and vitamin D screening. They found that black patients receive significantly more of five low-value treatments, while Hispanics receive significantly more of six low-value services, compared to white patients.

Researchers also found that while less than 5 percent of white Medicare patients with dementia received a feeding tube, 17 percent of black and 13 percent of Hispanic patients received the treatment.

Head researcher William Schepero, a PhD candidate at the Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, Conn., says this data indicates that access to healthcare is not the only issue policymakers should focus on — inequalities in care given is also important.

This research was conducted in partnership between Yale, The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice in Lebanon, N.H., Harvard Medical School and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, both in Boston.

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