Study: Blacks more likely to reside in lower quality nursing homes

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Black nursing home residents are more than 2.6 times more likely than their white counterparts to live in a facility that primarily serves Medicaid, or poorer, residents. Blacks also were 10% more liable to be in a facility that was significantly understaffed or financially strained, according to researchers writing in the September-October issue of Health Affairs.

"Nursing homes remain relatively segregated, roughly mirroring the residential segregation within metropolitan areas," study authors wrote. They added that it could take many years to change the ratios. Nursing homes in the Midwest were most likely to be racially segregated, while facilities in the South were least likely.

Lead author David Barton Smith, professor emeritus at Temple University, said ideas for relative quicker improvements should include demanding greater provider accountability, and better educating consumers about care options.

The study, which considered nearly 90% of all U.S. nursing facilities and residents, can be found at$doPp/cdb28.