Racial, Ethnic Disparities Common In CT Hospital Readmissions

A black patient hospitalized for chest pain in Connecticut is 20 percent more likely than a white patient to be readmitted within 30 days after discharge. Similarly, a Hispanic patient hospitalized for heart failure is 30 percent more likely to land back in the hospital within a month. Those disparities in two of the most common reasons for hospitalizations among state residents point to larger problems in access to care, underlying health status and insurance coverage, according to a study published today in Connecticut Medicine, the journal of the Connecticut State Medical Society. The society is hosting a forum today to discuss ways to reduce disparities in readmissions of patients with heart failure, chest pain and three other conditions: joint replacement surgery, digestive disorders and uncomplicated childbirth. “We’re seeing large disparities in readmissions for a number of conditions,” said Robert Aseltine, the study’s lead author and professor of behavioral science and community health at the University of Connecticut Health Center.

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Cancer death rates

Cancer Deaths: Gap Persists Among Blacks, Whites

When Ulysses B. Hammond was diagnosed with prostate cancer, his first thought was that he could wait to deal with it. After all, the doctor said it would spread slowly. That reaction is typical for men – especially African Americans like Hammond -- and it plays a role in explaining why they have the highest cancer death rate in the United States and in Connecticut. “It’s not deemed very macho to actually admit or discuss physical frailties,” said Hammond, chair of the board at Lawrence & Memorial Hospital in New London. The death rate for African American men and women nationally – 207.7 per 100,000 people – is more than 20 percent higher than the rate for whites, according to 2009 data, the latest from the National Cancer Institute.

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