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U.S. News Analysis Finds Racial Disparities in Quality of Surgical Care Received

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A U.S. News analysis of seven years of Medicare records reveals broad and enduring racial disparities in who receives surgical care and in the quality of the hospitals where people of different races tend to get treated. These new findings build on many years of scientific research that has exposed racial disparities in access to health care.

Researchers used the same Medicare inpatient hospital stays for beneficiaries 65 and older that are used in the 2020-21 Best Hospitals rankings and ratings, and first examined the racial breakdown for the eight most common surgeries and related procedure based on the six racial categories reflected in Medicare data: white, Black, Hispanic, Asian, North American Native and other. U.S. News also evaluated racial differences in who benefited from high-quality care, as defined by who was treated at a hospital with a “High Performing” designation from U.S. News in the procedure used to treat them.

As previously blogged (AHT, 7/28/20), a U.S. study, published in journal Pediatrics, found that black children were more likely than whites to die after common surgeries, with these findings echoing evidence seen in adults.

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