December 17, 2004

Study reports black workers compensated less for back injuries

A Saint Louis University study that appears in the December issue of Pain reports that black Americans who suffer work-related back injuries are compensated less for their injuries than white people in similar situations.

"The implications of these differences are sobering. Even though patients have equal access to health care through the worker's compensation system, there are substantial differences in the treatment costs that they incur," principal investigator Raymond C. Tait, a professor of psychiatry, said in a prepared statement.

He and his colleagues studied 1,472 lower back injury worker's compensation cases in Missouri. They found that money spent on medical care for blacks was about a third (an average of $4,000 less) of that spent on whites and that total disability settlements for blacks were about half ($3,000 lower) than the amounts given to whites."

The study also cites prior research by the Institute of Medicine on racial and ethnic disparities in health care. Congress requested this study in 1999, and the final report which was issued in 2002 found that:

" ... a consistent body of research demonstrates significant variation in the rates of medical procedures by race, even when insurance status, income, age, and severity of conditions are comparable. This research indicates that U.S. racial and ethnic minorities are less likely to receive even routine medical procedures and experience a lower quality of health services.

The report says a large body of research underscores the existence of disparities. For example, minorities are less likely to be given appropriate cardiac medications or to undergo bypass surgery, and are less likely to receive kidney dialysis or transplants. By contrast, they are more likely to receive certain less-desirable procedures, such as lower limb amputations for diabetes and other conditions."

This is quite disturbing stuff indeed. The report suggest the need for more evidence-based medical guidelines to help providers and health plans make sound decisions and to ensure equity of care. It also points to the need for more minority providers.

Thanks to Jordan Barab at Confined Space for pointing us to the recent St. Louis study.

| 2 Comments

2 Comments

MY COMMENT IS HOW CAN THESE COMPANIES GET AWAY WITH DOING THIS, AND WE'VE ALL OF THESE ATTORNIES, SUPPOSIVELY FIGHTING FOR EVERYONE RIGHTS. CAN SOMEONE TELL ME WHERE I CAN GET HELP FINDING OUT ABOUT ANOTHER PROBLEM WITH SOME STATE DISABLIES LAW'S. I ALSO WONDER ABOUT HOW THEY GO ABOUT HANDLING HOW IT IS DISTRIBUTED TO DIFFERENT PEOPLE OF DIFFERENT RACES, I WOULD SAY THIS IS A LAWSUIT. I'VE BEEN THINKING ABOUT THIS FOR OVER A YEAR.

THANK YOU,
MRS. ARTIS
1-29-05

Hello Mrs. Artis -

Here is the Department of Justice's page on the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) law, and here is a legal resource on disability law that has some helpful links in the right hand sidebar. Also, various public and private organizations have resources established to protect people's rights. We found several on a Goolge search for disability law - you might add the name of the state you live in for more targeted information because although federal laws such as the ADA are the same throughout the country, individual state laws can vary.

I hope these resources will be helpful to you!

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This page contains a single entry by Julie Ferguson published on December 17, 2004 9:12 AM.

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