Health disparities

Latest data show racial disparities in housing cost burden persists in Ohio

HousingAffordabilityByRace_StandAlone_03.24.2022

Recently released data shows that Ohioans continue to experience substantial financial burdens when paying for housing, and that Ohioans of color are disproportionately impacted.  

Last year, HPIO released a fact sheet on housing affordability and health equity that described how stable, affordable and safe housing is critical for good health. Above is a graphic from the publication, updated with the most-recently available data. 

The connections between housing and health are clear. Limited high-quality, affor 
dable housing stock forces many Ohioans into stressful and unsafe housing situations that can lead to long-term negative health consequences, such as high blood pressure and poor birth outcomes. 

HPIO’s fact sheet “Connections between Racism and Health: State and Local Policymakers,” further explains the connection between racism, housing and health: “Decades of racist housing policies, such as historical redlining and present-day predatory lending practices, have resulted in neighborhood segregation, concentrated poverty and disinvestment from Black communities in Ohio that continue to this day. As a result, Ohioans of color are more likely to experience harmful community conditions — such as food deserts and unsafe, unstable housing — that impact health.”  

The fact sheet includes action steps policymakers can take to support the health and well-being of Ohioans of color and move Ohio toward a more economically vibrant and healthier future. 

The fact sheet is one in a series of three that are companions to the HPIO policy brief “Connections between Racism and Health: Taking Action to Eliminate Racism and Advance Equity.” The other fact sheets in the series address private-sector organizations and individuals and community groups.


Black, unmarried patients more likely to have negative descriptors in health records, study finds

The language clinicians use in their electronic health record (EHR) notes varies by patients' race, marital status and type of insurance, according to a new study (Source: “Patients who are Black, unmarried or on government insurance described more negatively in EHR, study shows,” Jan. 19).

The Health Affairs study found Black patients were 2.54 times more likely to have one or more negative descriptors in their EHR notes than white patients. It also found patients who are unmarried or enrolled in a government insurance program had higher likelihoods of negative descriptors than patients who were married or enrolled in private or employer-based insurance plans. 

The study's authors said their findings raise concerns about racial bias in healthcare and the possible transmission of stigma through the EHR. They said providers may need self-awareness and bias training to change their language.


HPIO fact sheet outlines actions private sector can take to address racism

 

The Health Policy Institute of Ohio has released a new fact sheet as a companion to its Connections between Racism and Health brief.

The fact sheet, the second in a series of three, outlines actions private sector partners can take to support the health and well-being of Ohioans of color and move Ohio toward a more economically vibrant and healthy future. The first fact sheet provided action steps for state and local policymakers.

“Ohioans of color, in particular, continue to face barriers to good health and well-being that are rooted in racism and centuries of unjust practices,” the fact sheet states. “However, improvement is possible and there are many actions private sector organizations can take to support the health of every Ohioan.”

Last year HPIO released a data brief, "Connections between Racism and Health: Taking Action to Eliminate Racism and Advance Equity" and an accompanying resource page to support state and local efforts to eliminate racism.


Fewer people identify health disparities as a problem, new study finds

The number of people who think health disparities and inequities are a problem has waned since 2020, according to new research (Source: “Fewer People Recognize Health Disparities, Inequities as a Problem,” Patient Engagement HIT, Dec. 9).

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and RAND Corporation researchers saw a significant decline in the number of people recognizing health disparities between July 2020 and September 2021. In July 2020, 61.1% of U.S. adults agreed that people of color faced a disproportionate health impact from the COVID-19 pandemic, and 57.5% agreed people of color faced more of a financial impact than their white peers.

By September 2021, however, those numbers had shrunk. Only 52.7% of adults agreed populations of color saw a stronger health impact from the pandemic, and 50.3% agreed populations of color saw a bigger financial impact.

The survey showed that fewer people recognize the link between systemic racism and health outcomes. For example, the researchers reported a 3% decline in the number of people who agree poor health outcomes are related to systemic racism; only about 40% of respondents in September 2021 said they agreed health outcomes could be linked to systemic racism.


Study: Racial disparities exist in every state in U.S.

Racial and ethnic health inequities are pervasive in every state in the U.S., according to a new analysis that found some of the widest disparities occur within states known for having high performing health care systems (Source: “States Have Large Racial Disparities in Health Care Equity, Study Finds,” U.S. News, Nov. 18).

A new report from the Commonwealth Fund assessed the performance of the health system in all 50 states and the District of Columbia on health care access, quality of care and health outcomes for racial and ethnic minority residents.

The report evaluated state health system performance for Black, white and American Indian/Alaskan Native residents, as well as for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander and Latino populations.

Only six states had health systems that scored above the national average for all racial and ethnic groups studied – Oregon, Rhode Island,  Hawaii, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York. Yet large disparities were also found in those states, where health system performance for white residents was scored the best of any group except in Massachusetts, where it was slightly higher among Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander residents.

The overall health of Black Ohioans ranked 22nd out of 38, Latino Ohioans ranked 16th out of 42, Asian Ohioans ranked 19th out of 23 and white Ohioans ranked 34th out of 51 states and D.C.


Answers sought for rise in suicide attempts among Black teens

Legislators and academics are pushing for better research to understand why self-reported suicide attempts have dramatically risen among Black adolescents over the past three decades (Source: “Why Are More Black Kids Suicidal? A Search for Answers.,” New York Times, Nov. 18).

A study published this summer in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that self-reported suicide attempts rose nearly 80% among Black adolescents from 1991 to 2019, while the prevalence of attempts did not change significantly among those of other races and ethnicities.

One study of high school students, published in September, found that the Black teenagers surveyed were more likely than the white teenagers to have attempted suicide without first having suicidal thoughts or plans. Because suicide screening questionnaires typically ask whether people are having suicidal thoughts or have made plans to hurt themselves, the authors speculated that the questionnaires might fail to identify some Black youths who are at risk of suicide, or that there could be additional factors that might indicate a need for intervention.

More research is needed, but a government study conducted last year suggested that Black children and adolescents who died by suicide were more likely than white youths to have experienced a crisis in the two weeks before they died. They were also more likely to have had a family relationship problem, argument or conflict, or a history of suicide attempts.


Biden targets inequity in new HIV/AIDS strategy

President Biden on Wednesday unveiled a new HIV/AIDS strategy, calling for a renewed focus on vulnerable Americans — including gay and bisexual Black and Latino men, who his administration says are too often stigmatized even as they are disproportionately affected (Source: “Biden says HIV/AIDS strategy needs to confront inequity,” Associated Press, Dec. 2).

The new strategy, which declares racism a “public health threat,” was released on the annual commemoration of (no link) World AIDS Day. It is meant to serve as a framework for how the administration shapes its policies, research, programs and planning over the next three years.

The new strategy asserts that, over generations, “structural inequities have resulted in racial and ethnic health disparities that are severe, far-reaching, and unacceptable.”

To reduce disparities, the strategy includes calls for focusing on the needs of disproportionately affected populations, supporting (no link) racial justice, combating HIV-related stigma and discrimination and providing leadership and employment opportunities for people with or at risk for HIV.


Children of color more likely to die from flu, study finds

People who are Black, Hispanic or American Indian/Alaska Native are more likely than white people to be hospitalized with a case of the flu in the United States, according to a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other institutions (Source: “The flu proves more deadly for children of color than for White youths, study says,” Washington Post, Oct. 11).

Young children in these groups, along with Asian and Pacific Islander children, are also more likely to die of flu than white children.

The study, published in the journal JAMA Network Open, took a close look at 113,352 flu hospitalizations between 2009 and 2019 from across the country. Researchers found clear disparities in those hospitalizations as well as among those who were ultimately admitted to the intensive care unit or who died.

Overall, Black people had the highest rates of hospitalization and ICU admission, followed by American Indians or Alaska Natives and Hispanic people, although the trends varied within age groups. Except in the youngest children, Asian and Pacific Islander people had hospitalization rates similar to or slightly lower than non-Hispanic white people. Across racial and ethnic groups, researchers found few differences in hospitalization, ICU admission and death from flu among adults 75 and older.


New report highlights health inequities by state

Earlier this month, the creators of the America’s Health Ranking report released the first edition of a companion document focused on health disparities in the U.S. (Source: “United Health’s inaugural ‘Disparities Report’ highlights health inequities,” MinnPost, Aug. 4).

The inaugural edition of the United Health Foundation’s “American’s Health Ranking Disparities Report” described the breadth, depth and persistence of health disparities in the U.S.

While previous reports have focused on the health of seniors, the health of women or on those who’ve served in the U.S. military, this year’s report focused on areas where one group has a disadvantage compared to another. The study’s results were broken down by all 50 states and the District of Columbia.


White Americans got disproportionate share of healthcare dollars in 2016, study finds

White Americans received 72% of all healthcare spending in 2016 despite making up 61% of the population, according to a new study that found major disparities in racial and ethnic health spending (Source: “Study: White Americans got disproportionate amount of healthcare dollars in 2016,” Fierce Healthcare, Aug. 17).

The study, published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association and conducted by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, found that African Americans make up 12% of the population and accounted for 11% of healthcare spending. However, the spending was skewed based on how African Americans were getting care. African Americans got 26% less outpatient care compared to whites but spent 12% more on emergency department care, the study found. This likely contributed to African Americans getting more expensive care when conditions worsened instead of getting more preventive outpatient care, experts said.

“Hispanic and Asian Americans received the least spending relative to their proportion of the population: Hispanic patients benefited from 11% of healthcare spending despite accounting for 18% of the population, while Asian, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander individuals received 3% of spending while making up 6% of the population,” according to a release on the study.