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February 20, 2008

Who Is Accountable for Racial Equity in Health Care?

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Wagner Graduate School, New York University and Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York.

JAMA. 2008;299(7):814-816. doi:10.1001/jama.299.7.814

Racial disparities are a ubiquitous feature of the US medical landscape, with health care delivery substantially segregated by race/ethnicity. Recent evidence from hospitals,1-3 nursing homes,4,5 and physicians' offices6 suggests that those caring for minority patients do not perform as well as those who care for nonminority patients, on average. This evidence is troubling but hardly surprising because the limited resources of those who care for the poor have helped to create and sustain racial disparities. As the United States enters an era of accountability in health care, it is time to consider these familiar circumstances from a new perspective.