In this blog, we take a glance at some of the health inequities that the Black community faces in the United States and share a story on how the Shields Care model assists under-insured and non-insured people around the country.
There have always been consistent and prevalent health inequities for Black people in the United States, from the quality of care they receive to the costs associated with it. As Black History Month comes to a close, we wanted to shed light on just how much inequity there is in our country.
For example, here are some of the more glaring inequities according to the Center for American Progress:
- In 2017, 10.6 percent of African Americans were uninsured compared with 5.9 percent of non-Hispanic whites.
- 13.8 percent of African Americans reported having fair or poor health compared with 8.3 percent of non-Hispanic whites.
- Eighty percent of African American women are overweight or obese compared to 64.8 percent of non-Hispanic white women.
- In 2018, 8.7 percent of African American adults received mental health services compared with 18.6 percent of non-Hispanic white adults.
- African Americans have the highest mortality rate for all cancers combined compared with any other racial and ethnic group.
- There are 11 infant deaths per 1,000 live births among Black Americans. This is almost twice the national average of 5.8 infant deaths per 1,000 live births.
One story that reflects Shields’ commitment to meeting everyone’s needs, no matter their background, is when a health system partner’s patient was prescribed oral chemotherapy for her cancer at one of their hospitals, but that medication was only available at a national specialty pharmacy.
The copay for her medication was $2,150, and there was no other choice for her treatment at that time according to the oncologist. The patient was unemployed, and her ex-husband’s income put her over the Federal Poverty Level because they filed taxes jointly the year before. Even with a letter of adjustment and explanation of finances being submitted for the Patient Assistance Program, it was denied.
Our liaison identified this patient in need, and although she was not able to fill her medication at the health system specialty pharmacy, the liaison was able to find an alternative charitable organization that the patient could use to cover the cost of the medication. The patient continued treatment and when the prescriber determined a need to change therapy, the patient was so appreciative and dedicated to the health system and the care she received from our liaison, that she opted into the integrated health system specialty pharmacy for her treatment moving forward.
This is just one story, but there are countless others that amplify our mission to provide innovative care
for the nation’s most complex patients. We recognize the need for high-quality, affordable health care and will continue to strive to provide exactly that for everyone who needs our specialized services.