Veterans Still Face Racial Disparities for Health Care

Vanessa Hudgens

Long ago, there was a large difference between the care that black veterans got in the United States and the care that the white veterans got. This of course was linked to the racial disparities in the nation at the time, but medical professionals have tried to bridge that gap over the years. Nevertheless, recent studies have shown that there are still some differences between the ways that black and white veterans are treated in health care facilities.

Veterans Still Face Racial DisparitiesWhile there is no known reason behind the current disparities in care, they are prominent enough to take notice of. The VA Health Care System has done all that it can to provide access to treatments and screenings for high risk patients across the board, but their efforts have seemingly not been enough. The primary disparities lie among the blood pressure and cholesterol monitoring for black and white veterans. Black veterans are 9% more likely to develop issues with these conditions and diabetes due to lack of sufficient care. There is no sign as to why there is such a gap in the treatments, but it is apparent.

To conduct this study, researchers looked over ten different clinical performance measures that would naturally be assessed for patients in need of health care. They took a sample of over 1.2 million people across the country between the year 200 and the year 2009. Regardless of efforts to close the gap in care, the study still showed that black patients were not monitored as well as white patients, especially for blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol. These issues are some of the most common causes of a variety of medical conditions, so the fact that they were not watched carefully indicates that there is a serious problem that needs to be fixed in the system. All of these conditions can impact a person’s lifespan and general health care costs over time, so they need to be looked over with great care.

This study was originally posted in “Health Affairs” within the April issue. It just shows that there is still room for improvement in veteran health care, even if efforts have always been made towards improvement in the past. Researchers continue to find ways to improve the way that black patients are treated by ensuring that they get the right medications, specialists, and tests to live a healthy life. The gap between black and white patients has shrunk considerably over the years, but there is still plenty of room left for the gap to close. Hopefully, research like this will inspire people to take some initiative and ensure that black veterans are treated just like their white counterparts.