Segregation in our nursing homes?

A new study indicates that segregation is alive and well in America’s nursing homes.  Elderly and ill blacks in the United States are more likely to live in poor-quality nursing homes, researchers said on Tuesday in a study that shows clear patterns of segregation persist.

“This study shows us that racial segregation has a significant impact on the quality of care received by nursing home residents,” David Barton Smith of Temple University in Philadelphia, who led the study, said in a statement.

Barton Smith’s team used U.S. government data on 1.5 million patients in 14,374 nursing homes in 2000, covering close to 90 percent of all nursing homes and residents.

Blacks were nearly twice as likely as whites to be located in a nursing home that was subsequently terminated from Medicare and Medicaid participation because of poor quality,” they wrote in their report.

The researchers said their report follows up on some well-established research on disparities in U.S. health care, which shows blacks get poorer care regardless of what kind of health insurance they have.

“Before Medicare and Medicaid were implemented in 1966, nursing homes in the South were totally segregated by Jim Crow laws and in the North almost as much by patterns of use and admission practices,” they wrote.