By Consumers For Quality Care, on September 8, 2021
According to Delaware Public Media, the longstanding inequities in our health care system that have been exacerbated by the pandemic are prompting experts to reassess the health care needs of communities of color.
According to CQC research, a majority of Americans (56 percent) agree that COVID-19 has shown racial disparities in our health care system.
The CDC previously reported that life expectancy in the United States dropped by 1.5 years since last year, the largest single year decrease since World War II. The drop was disproportionately high among communities of color, with life expectancy falling by 3 years for Black Americans and 3.9 years for Latinx Americans.
While most of the fall in life expectancy can be attributed to the pandemic, it has prompted a re-examination of why the Latinx community has more limited access to health care.
Community health experts believe the largest obstacle for the Latinx community in obtaining care is likely communication, and the difficulty of finding Spanish-speaking providers. Other barriers include misinformation, accessibility, and possessing a valid identification card. Many undocumented residents avoid almost all health care, even basic check-ups, for fear of getting arrested or deported.
DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay stressed the importance of routine outreach to communities of color, even after the threat of COVID-19 has subsided. “We’ve got to get back to some of our normal, routine health screenings and chronic care management approaches that are impacting people, and quite likely, our minority populations more, so that outreach isn’t just limited to Covid testing and vaccines.”
CQC urges lawmakers and public health officials to continue to address the racial disparities and all forms of discrimination in our health care system that have long predated the coronavirus pandemic.