California AG seeks hospital cooperation in racial bias probe

California Attorney General Rob Bonta is investigating hospital algorithms for racial bias, according to a report published by Kaiser Health News on Nov. 21.

Mr. Bonta was appointed attorney general in 2021 — after Xavier Becerra left the position to become HHS secretary — and unofficial results show he was elected to a second term.

Before the Nov. 8 election, Mr. Bonta began his racial bias investigation of software programs and decision-making tools hospitals use to support patient treatment, schedule operating rooms and guide billing practices, according to Kaiser Health News.

He told the publication he asked 30 hospital CEOs in August to provide a list of the commercial software programs their facilities use in exchange for confidentiality. He also told the publication his goal is to identify algorithms that may result in white patients receiving more attention and resources compared to minorities.

"Unequal access to our healthcare system needs to be combated and reversed, not carried forward and propagated, and algorithms have the power to do either," Mr. Bonta told Kaiser Health News.

Related to Mr. Bonta's efforts to investigate racial bias in healthcare, his office's reparations task force this year released a report that said Black Californians had poorer health outcomes than other groups.

Results of the investigation are pending.

Read the full Kaiser Health News report here.

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