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Thursday, April 25, 2024

Study: Blacks receive poor

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quality of care in nursing homes

By ERICKA P. THOMPSON

Nursing homes are mostly segregated throughout the Midwest, a new report suggests.

A national study printed in the September/October issue of Health Affairs says Blacks are subjected more than whites to end up in nursing homes that provide poor quality care.

“The nursing home industry is still quite segregated,” says researcher David Barton Smith. “There are homes for Blacks and there are homes for whites.”

Indianapolis is not exempt from such segregation. Nancy Jewell, president of the Indiana Minority Health Coalition, said the coalition heard such news as recent as four years ago through testimony and she’s not surprised.

Terry Whitson, assistant commissioner for the Indiana State Department of Health, says the state is aware that inner city nursing homes in large metropolitan areas have had challenges in providing quality care.

“Many of the facilities we have found deficient practices in tend to be older nursing homes,” he said.

However, study co-author Jacqueline Zinn, professor in the Fox School of Business at Temple University notes that the differences in care received by Blacks in nursing homes compared to whites were not seen within the same nursing home.

“The care provided within the facility is consistent,” she said. “It’s just differences across (regions) with regard to the degree of segregation.”

Smith noted that most nursing homes may simply reflect residents choosing to live in facilities closest to their neighborhood. For Blacks in the inner city, they’re mostly covered by Medicaid and most times payments don’t amply cover basic costs.

“Nursing homes that rely heavily on Medicaid are more likely to cut staff and that can result in shoddy care,” said Barton Smith.

Whitson says that more studies like this should be researched more often because they’re beneficial.

“Two particular areas that are of interest to me is what kind of interest, activity and issues are there that would make African-American residents more comfortable with the quality of care they’re receiving,” he said. “The second factor is, why are there disparities in the quality of care. I think we kind of understand the issues, but I think further research would be helpful.”

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