Most Adults Who Feel Treated or Judged Unfairly by Health Care Providers Report Adverse Consequences

Fact Sheet

Most Adults Who Feel Treated or Judged Unfairly by Health Care Providers Report Adverse Consequences

Abstract

Black and Hispanic/Latinx adults report experiencing discrimination when seeking health care at higher rates than white adults, which raises the question: How might these reported experiences adversely affect health care? The Urban Institute’s December 2020 Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey asked respondents about the consequences of and actions they took in response to being treated or judged unfairly because of their race or ethnicity at a doctor’s office, clinic, or hospital in the past 12 months. Among the 3.2 percent of nonelderly adults who reported feeling treated or judged unfairly in these settings, more than three-quarters (75.9 percent) reported such treatment or judgment disrupted their receipt of health care. This includes 39.0 percent who delayed care, 34.5 percent who looked for a new health care provider, and 30.7 percent who did not get needed care. These new data highlight the need for greater attention to policies and practices that can improve health care quality and interactions with health care providers and staff for all patients, particularly for Black patients, 1 in 13 of whom reported these experiences on the Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey.

This fact sheet is part of a body of work exploring perceptions of discriminatory experiences in health care and other settings. See the related publications.

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