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USA: What is the healthcare cost of racial health disparities, inequity?

There is a considerable human and healthcare cost that could have been avoided at the onset of COVID-19 had more been done to ameliorate eventual racial health disparities, amounting to thousands of lives lost and billions of dollars spent, according to analysis from Altarum on behalf of Episcopal Health Foundation.

Using figures up until the end of September 2020, the researchers found that had Black and Hispanic people in Texas been hospitalised at the same rate as their White counterparts, the state would have seen 24,000 fewer hospitalisations. That would have amounted to $550 million in healthcare cost savings, the analysis showed.

That is not to mention the human costs associated with racial health disparities during the pandemic. Had Black and Hispanic patients had the same COVID-19 mortality rates as White people, the state of Texas would have seen about 5,000 fewer deaths, cutting the total number of COVID-19 deaths in the state by 30%.

“These numbers are a glaring reminder of how non-medical factors like economic status and living conditions impact health and how COVID-19 is highlighting that in the worst way,” Elena Marks, president and CEO of the Episcopal Health Foundation, said in a statement. “The human and economic costs of health disparities continue to grow during the pandemic and we’re learning why we can’t address them through medicine alone. Something has to change in Texas.”

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Source: Patient Engagement HIT, 13 January 2021


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