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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Hispanic healthcare disparities worsen

Hispanics, unlike other minority groups, continue to fall further behind whites in getting quality health care, according to an AP story a colleague of mine, Deborah Greaves, gave me.

According to the article, Hispanics are especially falling behind in areas like diabetes, mental illness and tuberculosis. Further, was the disparity in getting regular dentist visits for Hispanic children is also increasing. This is troubling since poor dental care leads to long-term, chronic health problems like diabetes and heart disease.

The government measured 40 types of disparities in the quality of health care between whites and minorities using data from 2002-2004, the article says. Among blacks, 58 percent of those disparities were becoming smaller and 42 percent were becoming larger. However, for Hispanics, 41 percent of disparities between whites and Hispanics were becoming smaller, while 59 percent were growing.

The government also measured access to health care. In all categories, disparities narrowed for blacks, Asians and American Indians ... but worsened for Hispanics in five out of six categories, including access to health insurance.

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