While we see health disparities among racial and ethnic groups in the headlines more so now than before the pandemic, these disparities have always existed in our U.S. healthcare system. Nationwide studies have found that Hispanic or Latino, Black or African American, American Indian or Alaskan Native, and Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander people are among the minority groups that receive lower-quality care than their white counterparts. Although racial inequities in healthcare have always been an issue, COVID-19 highlighted the disparities in everything from testing and vaccination rates to cases and hospitalizations.
The continued inequity in health outcomes among certain racial and ethnic groups warrants the attention of medical leaders and professionals as well as their commitment to combat these inequities. Strategies have emerged to address and eliminate health care disparities, including efforts from leaders in government, healthcare providers, and various organizations advocating for the racial and ethnic groups experiencing injustice in healthcare.
To help eliminate racial health disparities, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts announced it is providing financial incentives for physicians who work to close health gaps. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts responded with action to a report they conducted, which revealed Asian, Black, and Brown patients were not receiving the same quality care as White patients. While the logistics of this initiative have not been fully developed, their plan is a step in the direction all healthcare companies need to be headed. There is no one solution to the racial injustice in our U.S. healthcare system, but as more healthcare leaders and organizations address racial health inequities, we can further move toward a fair system where all patients are treated properly regardless of color.
Read more about BCBS of Massachusetts’ effort to reduce racial health disparities, here.