Racial Disparity Seen in Trauma Center Mortality Rates

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , September 12, 2013

"On the other hand if you are working under extreme pressure and you have to take care of a lot of patients and you are not getting paid to take care of these patients, then it is difficult to improve quality. I don't mean to give a pass to hospitals that are on the bottom of the ranking, but I totally understand why they are doing such a difficult job. I have seen myself hospitals that are working in difficult circumstances that are doing a fantastic job with what they have. If they had more resources they would be fantastic and would go right up the list."

While the findings in the study are troublesome, Haider says he takes some solace in knowing that the results did not show any treatment bias on the part of trauma teams.

"We talk about healthcare disparity all the time but the fact is that no matter your skin color, white, black, or Hispanic, they ended up with the same results based on what hospital you went to," Haider says. "If you went to a low-performing hospital and you were white, you [would] have the same results as a black guy at that hospital."

"Similarly," he says, "if you went to a high performing hospital whether you were black or white you all did good. That was very heartwarming to see and a very positive finding for the study because a lot of disparity studies keep on showing that minority patients are doing worse, but this one shows that trauma centers do a great job if they are able to do a good job they do it no matter who you are. But obviously not all trauma centers can do a good job."

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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