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Black Medicaid patients more likely to be hospitalized for preventable conditions: Analysis

An analysis published Wednesday found that Black Medicaid patients are more likely to be hospitalized for preventable conditions.

The new analysis by the Urban Institute found that Black Medicaid enrollees were “significantly more likely” to be hospitalized for preventable reasons than white patients. Preventable conditions included asthma/chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes and heart failure.

“This analysis of preventable hospitalizations among Medicaid-enrolled adults finds higher rates of preventable hospitalizations by SSI status and for Black versus white enrollees and documents considerable variation in preventable hospitalizations across states,” according to the analysis.

“Documenting these patterns represents an important step in identifying populations at especially high risk for experiencing preventable hospitalizations,” it continued.

The analysis found that 12.7 percent of Black patients among those who were previously diagnosed with heart failure and could enroll in Medicaid through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program had a preventable hospitalization. This is nearly twice the rate of white enrollees, of which about 7.2 percent experienced preventable hospitalizations.

The analysis noted that the trends varied by state and preventable condition. For example, Indiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania had higher rates of preventable hospitalizations for asthma/COPD conditions with Black patients when compared to white patients.

It noted that Texas had lower rates among Black patients when compared with white patients for preventable hospitalizations due to asthma/COPD.

The analysis said its researchers observed that there was “evidence of racial disparities” between Black and white enrollees. The analysis said that this may be due to provider access issues and other “root causes,” like poor air quality, stress, and a lack of access to healthy and affordable food.

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