Disparities in Care Deserve More Attention

Elyas Bakhtiari, for HealthLeaders Media , February 18, 2010

It has to start, however, with greater acknowledgement of the problem. The national healthcare reform debate was an ideal opportunity for that, which has for the most part been squandered.

As the nation grows even more diverse in the coming decades, issues like cultural competency, care for immigrants, and personalized medicine will become more important to everyday practice. To their credit, physicians and other providers are better than most, particularly politicians, at recognizing disparities and working to correct them, even while facing many other healthcare challenges (including a lack of resources for addressing disparities).

But this isn't a problem physicians can address on their own. If we as a country are truly interested in building a better healthcare system, then we have to start by acknowledging that the system fails certain segments of society in predictable and shameful ways.

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Elyas Bakhtiari is a freelance editor for HealthLeaders Media.

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