Kaiser Health News writes: Money may not buy happiness, but patients with more money to spend tend to be happier with their health care providers, a statewide survey sponsored by the Blue Shield of California Foundation found. Based on responses from 1,500 California residents, researchers found that among those whose household incomes fell below 200 percent of the federal poverty line, only about half said the quality of their care was excellent or very good, compared to almost 70 percent of those with household incomes above 200 percent of the poverty line. The underlying reasons for this disparity, according to the researchers, were not the patients’ income per se but the quality of their relationships with caregivers. Low-income people — who often get their care from resource-strapped community clinics and emergency rooms — tended to see different providers each time they sought care, felt less involved in their own health care decision-making and felt less connected to the facilities where they were treated. By focusing on improving satisfaction and communicating better with patients, health systems serving low-income populations might deliver better care and ultimately better outcomes — without necessarily spending more money, the researchers said.
Read full news item: Kaiser Health News
Read full survey: Health care in California: Leveling the playing field (PDF)