Even at Top Hospitals, Racial Health Disparities in Patient Safety Are Steep
According to a new report from The Leapfrog Group and the Urban Institute, racial health disparities in adverse patient safety events are seen at even the highest-performing hospitals despite patient safety being generally higher for all racial groups at these facilities. The study of 2019 hospital discharge records for over 10 million patients in 15 states examined differences in adverse patient safety events by race and hospital rating based on The Leapfrog Group’s patient safety grades. Hospitals with “A” and “B” grades had better overall patient safety scores regardless of patient race than “C/D/F” hospitals, but all hospitals regardless of grade had marked racial health disparities in rates of patient safety incidents. Further, the study found that, regardless of hospital rating, patients with Medicare or Medicaid were more likely to experience adverse patient safety events than those with private insurance. The researchers concluded that “while publicly available hospital quality information is a good indication of the average quality of care a hospital delivers, this study illustrates that some patients systematically receive less safe care.”
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