The Chicago Reporter did an investigation revealing poorer ratings for majority-black homes in Illinois than majority-white homes:
An investigation by The Chicago Reporter found that Illinois is arguably the worst state in the nation for Black senior citizens seeking quality nursing home care. There is just one home in Illinois rated “excellent” by the federal government when more than 50 percent of the home’s residents are Black. In Illinois, these facilities get the worst federal ratings and on average have more violations than facilities where a majority of residents are white. And in Chicago, on average, these homes have more medical malpractice and personal injury lawsuits. People in white homes got better care than those in Black homes, even if both were poor.
The Reporter also found that the staff at Illinois’ black nursing homes spent less time daily with residents than staff at facilities where a majority of the residents are white. Of that time, Black residents got a smaller percentage of time with more-skilled registered nurses than facilities where the residents were white […]
The Reporter analyzed the records of 15,724 nursing homes listed in the federal Nursing Home Compare ranking database to determine if disparities existed in the quality of care. The overall rating is based on a combination of health inspection results, staffing levels and how well each home performs on 10 important aspects of care, like how well residents maintain their ability to dress themselves and eat. The database includes homes that get some of their money from Medicaid or Medicare, more than 95 percent of all nursing homes.
The Reporter found that in Chicago, the worst rating—a one on a five-point scale—was given to 57 percent of Black nursing homes, compared with 11 percent of white nursing homes.
Excellent ratings were given to no black homes in Chicago and 29 percent of all homes with majority-white residents. White seniors had qualitatively better nursing home options than Black seniors—in some cases, even when facilities had the same owner […]
The Reporter analyzed the ratings for Chicago homes where more than 75 percent of residents’ care was paid for by Medicaid. A quarter of white homes received an excellent rating, compared with none of the black homes. More than half of the Black homes received the worst rating, while 8 percent of white homes earned the same score […]
“That’s blatant racism,” [state Rep. LaShawn Ford] said. “A lot of the times the owners of these nursing homes treat them [just] as a business. It has to be more of a mission than a business.”
It should be surprising, but it’s not. In just about any way you can identify, it appears that black people are receiving worse care than white people. We can talk about the causes — the value society has placed on particular qualities in a person, the significantly worse performance of for-profit homes — in this case, it even appears that the systemic effect of poverty (which black people suffer under disproportionately) made no difference; poor black people still received worse care than poor white people.
We can talk about support for independent living for people with disabilities, but that is a point where poverty — especially poverty extending deep into a person’s family, rather than individual poverty — would come into play and negatively affect people of color disproportionately.
Research has also shown that black patients receive worse medical care than white patients (this article focuses on diabetes care in particular; I am fairly sure I have seen research that demonstrated similar disparities in hospital care).
This is white privilege: even when you are aging and/or disabled, with all the trouble society gives you, your racial background is still giving you a hand up over those who do not share your privilege.
Thanks to Anna for the link.
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