How Hospitals are isolating people of color and leaving these communities behind

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The Atlanta BlackStar recently reported on the release of U.S. News and World report’s annual top best hospitals list.  While the list contained many well known hospitals, what is striking is that most of the hospitals listed are not located in communities where the majority of the population are people of color.

Despite the fact that a 2011 Johns Hopkins University study showed that people of color and those who are poor face worse health outcomes than the general population, the managing editor and director of healthcare analysis for U.S. News & World Report defends the hospital’s locations by stating, “Our target audience is patients who have conditions – not those who need routine hospital care, which may be available at many hospitals that don’t rise to the level of our rankings.  For these challenging patients, the choice of hospital carries the highest stakes.”

An example of how communities of color are being left out in the cold when it comes to healthcare is the merging of Saint Luke’s hospital, located in Harlem, and Mount Sinai Hospital, located in the affluent neighborhood of Manhattan’s Upper Eastside.  DNAInfo reports that the merger caused the Harlem neighborhood’s only pediatric unit to close despite West Harlem having one of the highest rates of childhood asthma in the country.

The New York Times reports that Huron Hospital in East Cleveland has also negatively impacted a community of color.  The hospital closed in 2011 after serving an African American community for more than a century.  In response to the closings, Vice President and Director of the Health Policy Institute at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies Brian Smedley states, “Those who can afford it get it, and those who can’t struggle to get care, often at a lesser quality.  It will escalate as the health care crisis worsens and a population that has higher health care needs and health care problems gets worse and worse and ends up in emergency rooms to get treatment at much greater costs that we all will have to bear.”

5 Comments

  1. How long are we going to continue writing, reading and talking about things of this nature in the black community before we decide to rise up as a community and get our own? If a school, hospital, park or whatever it is that serves our community is about to close down, we never take the attitude ‘Well let save this school or this hospital that’s served our community for so long” we’re always like, “Oh well I guess we’re just gonna have to find some place else to go” but yet constantly complain about the inconvenience its caused and about how everything is always taken away from us. Or if we can’t go to another community to get money to help save what’s in our community then all hope is lost. I don’t know maybe we like it this way.

  2. I’d previously had indicated that in most “urban communities” the only GROWING development, expansions and building are HOSPITAL, COLLEGES and Sport STADIUMS…. In black neighborhoods the acreage & acquisitions of properties by colleges & hospitals has primarily been the main cornerstones for “GENTRIFICATIONS”… This was/is also the case I made for the failing black universities like Howard & Tuskegee.., They’ve needed to specialized their resources into a marketable product.., whereas sports, medicines and researching… Here again I go back to Booker T.Washington’s Tuskegee Initiative expanding throughout the southern region… These medical & educational institutions within those African American communities that I know of still the people of service people of the areas.., But their students, staffing & personnel are residing closer or near these facilities which changes the communities… Where the articles writer is concerned about services and affordability.., I believe that’s the concern for people of mostly the average patients… Now organ transplant issues is an totally whole other discussion…

  3. This isnt news middle class/upper middle class/upper class get better and best hospitals and everything else; this aint some new sheit. Po’ ppl dont make and generate money. So po’ ppl pull ur self out of poverty and raise ur kids to stay out of poverty so you can get better everything. You not gonna get better otherwise.

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