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Health care report cards may increase racial/ethnic disparities in bypass operations

tients are less likely to comply with treatment, more likely to refuse treatment, and delay seeking care for additional health problems."

"Although this increase in disparities appears to be transient, it took nine years after report cards were established for the differences in CABG use in blacks, Hispanics, and whites to return to where they were before the first report card's release," Werner said. Studies have indicated that report cards are generally beneficial. But there is still concern that some physicians might select lower risk patients to improve their public ratings.

"The finding that report cards increased racial and ethic disparities in CABG should not be taken as a reason to abandon quality-improvement. Instead, it suggests that report cards may need to be improved to increase their impact on patients' physician selection, and reduce physicians' incentive to select patients on the basis of their perceived risk," Werner said. Co-authors are David A. Asch, M.D., and Daniel Polsky, Ph.D.


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Contact: Carole Bullock
carole.bullock@heart.org
214-706-1279
American Heart Association
15-Mar-2005


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