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Understanding racial and ethnic differences in patient experiences with outpatient health care in Veterans Affairs Medical Centers.

Hausmann LR, Gao S, Mor MK, Schaefer JH, Fine MJ. Understanding racial and ethnic differences in patient experiences with outpatient health care in Veterans Affairs Medical Centers. Medical care. 2013 Jun 1; 51(6):532-9.

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Abstract:

BACKGROUND: Racial and ethnic differences in patient health care experiences have not been well examined in the Veterans Affairs (VA) Healthcare System. OBJECTIVES: To examine racial/ethnic differences in outpatient health care experiences within and between VA medical facilities. RESEARCH DESIGN: We assessed within-facility and between-facility racial/ethnic differences in responses to the 2010 VA Survey of Healthcare Experiences of Patients using mixed-effects multinomial regression. SUBJECTS: A total of 211,459 respondents (53.2%) to a random survey of outpatients from 910 VA medical facilities (71.9% non-Hispanic white, 15.1% non-Hispanic black, 6.4% Hispanic, and 6.7% Other race/ethnicity). MEASURES: Negative and positive patient-reported experiences in 8 domains of health care. RESULTS: Between-facility effects for black race were higher for 7 domains of negative experiences [risk differences (RDs): 0.37% to 1.64%] and lower for 6 domains of positive experiences (RDs: -0.69% to -2.54%). Between-facility effects for Hispanic ethnicity were higher for 5 domains of negative experiences (RDs: 0.60%-1.34%) and lower for 5 domains of positive experiences (RDs: -1.00% to -1.88%). Hispanic ethnicity was also associated with higher within-facility rates of positive experiences for 5 domains of care (RDs: 2.97%-4.08%). Other race/ethnicity was associated with significantly higher within-facility rates of negative experiences (RDs: 2.04%-3.95%) and lower rates of positive experiences for all 8 domains (RDs: -2.05% to -4.70%). CONCLUSIONS: In a national random sample of Veterans managed in the VA Healthcare System, we demonstrated significant within-facility and between-facility racial and ethnic differences in outpatient health care experiences, with differing patterns for each minority group.





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