Racial Disparities in Nursing Home Care

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<p>In metropolitan areas across the U.S., blacks are more likely than whites to live in poor-quality nursing homes, according to a <a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=29866&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecommonwealthfund%2Eorg%2Fpublications%2Fpublications%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D521746%26%23doc521746">new Commonwealth Fund-supported study</a> published today in <em>Health Affairs.</em> The disparity appears to be linked to patterns of residential segregation.<br><br>The researchers, based at Temple and Brown universities, say the problem is most acute in the Midwest: 10 of the 20 nursing homes with the greatest disparities in quality of care were located in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan. In Milwaukee, blacks are more than twice as likely as whites to live in a nursing home with significant inspection deficiencies, substantial staffing shortages, and financial problems.<br><br>Nursing homes in the South are least likely to have an unequal racial distribution of nursing home residents relative to residential racial composition.<br><br>Overall, blacks are more likely than whites to be in a nursing home that has been cited with a deficiency causing actual harm or immediate jeopardy to residents.<br><br>The study's authors say that quality disparities in nursing homes could be mitigated by improving payment structures for nursing homes with a high proportion of Medicaid residents; closing the gap between the amount paid to nursing homes by Medicaid and private payers; and monitoring admissions practices to ensure that they meet Civil Rights Act requirements.</p>