Home Us News Children of Color Face Healthcare Inequities Across the Board in the U.S.

Children of Color Face Healthcare Inequities Across the Board in the U.S.

Children of Color Face Healthcare Inequities Across the Board in the U.S.

Picture a scenario where your child has suffered a fracture. A visit to the emergency department results in doctors declining to prescribe painkillers. New findings published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health reveal that children of color in the U.S. are more likely to face this scenario compared to their white peers.

A comprehensive analysis was conducted by researchers who examined numerous recent studies focusing on the standard of care provided to children in various pediatric fields. According to Nia Heard-Garris, a researcher at Northwestern University and a pediatrician at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, the inequities are prevalent. She supervised the review.

“Disparities in care for various racial and ethnic groups are evident across the board,” she states. According to Heard-Garris, there are numerous instances of inequalities observed across various specialties. A recent review has revealed concerning disparities in healthcare for children of color.

The study found that these children are less likely to receive diagnostic imaging and more likely to experience complications during and after certain surgical procedures. Patients experience increased wait times at the emergency room and are at a lower likelihood of receiving a diagnosis and treatment for developmental disabilities.

A significant disparity was discovered in pain management. Children from minority backgrounds are disproportionately less likely to receive pain medication for common ailments such as broken bones, appendicitis, or migraines compared to their white counterparts. Dr. Monique Jindal, an assistant professor at the University of Illinois Chicago and one of the authors of the review, describes these examples as extremely severe.

According to the researchers, the focus was solely on studies involving children with health insurance. Therefore, they concluded that the disparities observed cannot be attributed to the absence of insurance.

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Dr. Monika Goyal, associate chief of emergency medicine at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., who was not involved in the research review, describes the process of compiling evidence of health inequities from various pediatric specialties as a “tremendous” undertaking.

“They have done an impressive job in meticulously compiling the data that emphasizes the extensive presence of disparities in care,” states Goyal, whose research has focused on inequalities in pediatric care.

According to researchers, a variety of factors contribute to these inequities, with structural racism being identified as the underlying cause. These factors include limited access to quality housing and economic opportunities, biased treatment of children from marginalized communities by law enforcement, and unconscious biases exhibited by healthcare professionals.

“It is widely recognized that disparities exist.” “We need to focus on discussing practical solutions,” states Jindal, who authored a companion paper providing policy recommendations to address the significant gaps in pediatric care. Jindal emphasizes that in order to achieve high-quality and equitable healthcare, it is crucial to address the policy issues in conjunction with other sectors of society. According to Jindal, these solutions may necessitate significant policy changes.

Implementing sweeping policy changes can be a lengthy process, as seen with the challenges faced in previous attempts to establish universal health care. According to Jindal, there are potential solutions at the state level that can be easily addressed. One example is implementing continuous eligibility for social safety-net programs like SNAP, Medicaid, and CHIP. This would ensure that children do not lose their insurance coverage and food assistance due to administrative reasons.

The implementation of extensive policy changes can often be a time-consuming process, as evidenced by the difficulties encountered in previous endeavors to establish universal health care. Jindal suggests that there are viable solutions that can be effectively tackled at the state level. An example of an implementation is the continuous eligibility for social safety-net programs such as SNAP, Medicaid, and CHIP. Ensuring that children do not lose their insurance coverage and food assistance due to administrative reasons is crucial.

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