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Hospital Head Warns of Racism in U.S. Healthcare System

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 19 Apr 2013 03:45pm | comments
The head of a major U.S. hospital is warning that the health care industry in the U.S. is ignoring embedded racism.
 
Dr.Claudia Fegan is the chief Medical officer of a major Chicago hospital.  She talks about what she views as a major problem in the current healthcare system. 
 
"The reality is, in the delivery of health care in this country racism still plays an important role," says Fegan.
 
She says evidence shows that minority patients have worse health care outcomes in most situations, a disparity that transcends class and education level.
 
"Black women with college degrees whose birth do not have as good an outcome as white women who do not have a high school diploma. It is not as simple as socio-economic status or the notion that you can earn or educate yourself out of these problems," continues Fegan.
 
For example, In Mississippi black babies are twice as likely to die as infants compared to white babies. 
 
Fegan says doctors and patients often have very different perceptions of the quality of a doctor's visit, which she says contributes to doctors not understanding how race impacts health care.
 
She says doctors and hospitals need to do more to recognize the cultural differences and acknowledge the worse outcomes to begin fixing the issue.
 

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