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Disadvantaged patients likely to have minority doctors

January 22, 2014

Black, Hispanic and Asian physicians play an outsized role in the care of disadvantaged patients nationally. Patients who have low incomes, are from racial and ethnic minority backgrounds, have Medicaid insurance, or who do not speak English -- groups that historically have difficulty in accessing medical care -- are substantially more likely to receive their care from a minority physician, according to a new study appearing online in the current issue of the journal AMA Internal Medicine.

The study found that minority physicians care for 54 percent of minority patients and 70 percent of non-English-speaking patients. Other findings include: Asian, Hispanic and black patients were 19-26 times more likely to be cared for by a minority physician of their same race; low-income patients were 1 1/2 to 2 times more likely to be cared for by black, Hispanic and Asian physicians; and Medicaid patients were 2 to nearly 4 times more likely to see a minority doctor.

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