Report Highlights Disparities in Women's Health Care

Dorian Martin Health Guide
  • Do all women receive the same treatment from doctors? Are some groups of women more likely to suffer from specific diseases?  There are some interesting findings from the 2011 National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Reports.  Differences definitely emerge in health care quality among minority women.


    Here are some interesting findings:


    Health Care Delivery and Systems


    In 2008, Black women had a greater likelihood than White women of reporting that a health care provider did not listen to them, did not explain what was happening, did not respect what the women had to say or did not spend enough time with them. Additionally, Asian women were more likely than White women to report that their provider did not include in decision-making about their care.  During this year, White women were more likely than non-Hispanic White women to delay getting care or to be unable to get care during the previous year.

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    By 2009, white woman were more likely to be insured than American Indian women or Alaska Native women. Furthermore, non-Hispanic White women were more likely to have health insurance than Hispanic women.   Also in this year, American Indian women and Alaska Native women were more likely to identify a hospital, emergency room or clinic as their primary source of ongoing care than White women. Hispanic women also were more likely than non-Hispanic White women to report using these services as their primary care option.


    Cancer


    Black and Asian women between the ages of 50 and 74 were more likely to receive a mammogram in 2008. Interesting, Asian women had lower rates of advanced stage breast cancer than white women from 2000-2007, whereas black women have had higher rates of advanced breast cancer than white women since 2003 as well as higher rates of breast cancer deaths.  Hispanic women had lower rates of advanced stage breast cancer when compared to non-Hispanic Whites from 2000-2007 while American Indian, Pacific Islanders and Alaska Native also had low rates of advanced stage breast cancer. In looking at cervical cancer, policymakers found that Asian women were less likely to receive a pap smear than white women in 2008.


    Cardiovascular Disease


    Women died nearly eight times more often from heart disease than from breast cancer in 2008. Even with that news, American Indian and Alaska Native women were less likely to have their blood cholesterol check when compared to women in other racial groups. Non-Hispanic Whites had a higher death rate for acute myocardial infarction as well as for congestive heart failure. In addition, Asian or Pacific Islanders had higher death rates after coronary artery bypass surgery.


    Diabetes


    All ethnic/racial groups had low rates of receiving the recommended services for diabetes (dilated eye examination, food examination, flu shot, and two or more hemoglobin A1c measurements). Black women had higher rates of hospital admissions for uncontrolled diabetes than women in other racial/ethnic groups. While the rate of hospital admissions for amputations of lower legs was relatively low, Black women did have a higher rate of these surgeries than White women.


  • HIV/AIDS

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    Black women especially arere disproportionately affected by HIVAIDS.  Black women along with Black men had significantly higher rates of deaths caused by HIV infections than other racial and ethnic groups in 2007. In 2009, the rate of new AIDS cases was higher for both Black and Hispanic women than it was for non-Hispanic White women.


    These statistics are eye-opening. I think that it comes down to women making good choices in their lives about their health. Some of these conditions – such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes -- can be altered through diet and exercise.  HIV/AIDS can be avoided through practicing safe sex.  And no matter what, women need to be as proactive in taking care of their own health as they do in taking care of everyone that they love.


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    Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. (2012). Disparities in health care quality among minority women: Findings from the 2011 national healthcare quality and disparities report. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Published On: October 16, 2012