Report shows massive racial disparities in health care

White Minnesotans tend to receive better health care than people of color, a new report compiled by MN Community Measurement indicates.

Generally, white and Asian patients had the highest rates of optimal care, while American Indian and black patients usually had the lowest rates, according to the report. The analysis draws on data collected from Minnesota clinics and patients.

Jim Chase, president of MN Community Measurement, said the extent of the racial disparities varied widely by location.

"It's not just that the results are different between whites and everybody else," he said. "There are differences between different, new immigrant groups, and different results across different areas of the state."

For example, the colon cancer screening rate for African-Americans is within 7 percentage points of the rate for whites, both in the east metro and northwest Minnesota.

"You contrast that to somewhere like southwest Minnesota and the gap is about 34 percentage points. It's huge between African-Americans at the 35 percent rate (for colon cancer screening) and the white population at 69 (percent)," Chase said.

The report also assessed patient satisfaction, including whether patients felt respected and whether they would recommend their clinic to family and friends. Patients with better health outcomes typically rated their overall care experiences better as well.

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