American doctors who treat black patients may be less well trained than those caring for whites and are more likely to say they can't provide all their patients with high-quality care, according to a study.
The researchers from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre in New York and the Centre for Studying Health System Change, a Washington-based policy research group, examined data from 150,391 routine doctor visits by black and white Medicare patients to 4,365 primary care doctors, who had participated in a telephone survey during 2000 and 2001.
The researchers found that 25 per cent of physicians handled 80 per cent of the visits by black Medicare patients.
Doctors treating black patients were less likely to be board-certified than doctors treating white patients, the study report, published in New England Journal of Medicine, said.
Stephen Thomas, Director of the University Centre for Minority Health, said the new findings suggest that racial health disparities are structural and require some form of government intervention to eliminate the gap in care. "We know
enough now to begin acting on a solution," he said.