Blog | Monday, January 6, 2014

QD: News Every Day--Minority doctors caring for minority patients

Minority physicians are increasingly caring for minority populations, a research letter found.

Researchers sampled 7,070 adults from the 2010 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey who identified a medical provider as their usual source of care. Results appeared online Dec. 30 at JAMA Internal Medicine.

Nonwhite physicians cared for 53.5% of minority and 70.4% of non-English-speaking patients, according to the study results.

Also, Physicians for a National Health Program, an organization that promotes single-payer, national health insurance, commented on the study. The organization pointed out that:
• Minority patients were 19 to 26 times more likely to be cared for by a minority physician of their same race;
• Low-income patients were 1.5 to 2 times more likely to be cared for by minority physicians; and
• Medicaid patients were 2 times to nearly 4 times more likely to be cared for by minority physicians.
• Despite making up over 25% of the U.S. population, blacks and Hispanics make up less than 15% of the physicians.

Lead author Lyndonna Marrast, MD, ACP Member, and co-authors wrote that they found it “worrisome” that there has been little growth in the proportion of physicians who are black or Hispanic relative to their population, despite efforts to support workforce diversification.

“Our findings do not argue for buttressing de facto medical segregation or denigrate the efforts of nonminority physicians who care for the disadvantaged,” they wrote. “Nonetheless, it is clear that the preferences of physicians in choosing practice settings and of patients in choosing physicians combine to create an outsized role for minority physicians caring for the disadvantaged.”