Study: Black heart attack patients going to hospitals with higher mortality

Even when hospitals with better outcomes are closer, African-American heart attack victims who live in racially segregated areas are more likely to be admitted to hospitals with higher-than-average mortality rates, a new study suggests.

The study, which appears on the Health Affairs website, looked at hospital admissions for Medicare enrollees for acute myocardial infarctions in 118 healthcare markets from 2000 to 2005. It concluded that blacks were 35 percent more likely than whites to be admitted to hospitals classified as "high mortality," meaning hospitals where relatively high percentages of heart attack patients died.

What's more, blacks in segregated areas were more likely than whites to be admitted to high-mortality hospitals even when they were closer to hospitals with better survival rates, researchers said. This struck researchers as particularly noteworthy given that patients suffering from heart attacks are more typically directed to the closest hospital available.

To learn more about the study:
- read this Modern Healthcare piece (reg. req.)

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