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Equity in Heath Care & Safety

WHEREAS, the study made public by the Institute of Medicine on March 21, 2002 is the first comprehensive look at racial disparities in healthcare among people who have insurance; and

WHEREAS, the study found that racial and ethnic minorities receive lower quality healthcare than non-minorities, even when access factors such as patient's insurance status and income are controlled; and

WHEREAS, the study found that the sources of the disparities are rooted in historic and contemporary inequities, and involve many participants at several levels, including health systems, their administrative and bureaucratic processes, utilization managers, healthcare professionals, and patients; and

WHEREAS, the study found that minorities are less likely to be given appropriate medications for heart disease, or to undergo bypass surgery, are less likely to receive kidney dialysis or transplants than whites and are also less likely to receive the most sophisticated treatments for infection with H.I.V., which could delay the onset of AIDS; and

WHEREAS, the study found that in major medical centers in New York State, African-Americans were 37 percent less likely to undergo angioplasty and other heart procedures, including bypass surgery, than whites and in 90 percent of the cases in which patients did not get the surgery, the doctor had not recommended it; and

WHEREAS, minorities are more likely to receive certain less desirable procedures; for example, African-Americans are 3.6 times as likely as whites to have lower limbs amputates as a result of diabetes; and

WHEREAS, in interviews with doctors, researcher found "classic negative racial stereotypes," such as assumptions that African-American patients would be less likely to participate in follow-up care.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP reaffirm its 1992 Health Policy on "National Health Care"; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP supports the Institute of Medicine's recommendation to improve the quality of care for racial and ethnic minorities by promoting the increase of the proportion of underrepresented U.S. racial and ethnic minorities among health professionals; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, thatthe NAACP promotes culturally appropriate education programs to improve minority knowledge of how to access care and improve the ability to participate in clinical-decision making; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP promotes cross-cultural curricula to be integrated into the training of future healthcare provider and practical, care-based, rigorously evaluated training should persist through practitioner continuing education programs; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP urges health plans, federal and state payors to collect, report and monitor patient care data as a means to assess progress in eliminating disparities, to evaluate intervention efforts, and to assess potential civil rights violations.