Historical medical mistreatment of Black Americans and other people of color, including the provision or withholding of treatment on the basis of erroneous beliefs about biological differences by race and ignoring such patients’ health concerns, has contributed to a mistrust of health care providers within these groups. Perceptions of a shared identity between patients and their health care providers could be one way to improve the patient-provider relationship and foster trust and better communication. Drawing on the April 2021 round of the Urban Institute’s Health Reform Monitoring Survey, we provide a current snapshot of racial, ethnic, and language concordance between nonelderly patients ages 18 to 64 and their usual providers. We find the following:
- Among non-Hispanic/Latinx adults with a usual provider, Black adults were less likely to report racial concordance with their health care providers (22.2 percent) than were white adults (73.8 percent) and adults of additional races (34.4 percent).
- Among Hispanic/Latinx adults with a usual provider, nearly 1 in 4 (23.1 percent) reported racial, ethnic, and language concordance with their provider. About 3 in 10 Hispanic/Latinx adults (29.2 percent) reported ethnic concordance with their providers, and 23.7 percent reported both racial and ethnic concordance with their providers.
To the extent that patient-provider concordance matters to patients and could help improve health outcomes by improving the patient-provider relationship, changes in policy and practice will be needed to facilitate access to the types of providers patients prefer to see.