disparities in healthcare

Image: Shiane, Shaila, Carl, and Malaika Dameron all enjoy the Gold Standard of Care at LaSalle Medical Associates.

“We not only need more Black physicians, but we also need both doctors and patients to communicate more openly,” says Dr. Albert Arteaga, Chair of LaSalle Medical Associates.

A 2022 study by Pew Research finds that most Black Americans feel good about the quality of health care they have received recently. But the findings are mixed, with 47% saying outcomes have gotten better over the past 20 years, 31% saying they’re the same and 20% feel things have gotten worse.

On March 29, 2023, the Kaiser Family Foundation released a study, “Key Data on Health and Health Care by Race and Ethnicity” that noted, “While inequities in access to and use of health care contribute to disparities in health, inequities across broader social and economic factors that drive health, often referred to as social determinants of health, also play a major role.”

Social determinants include “socioeconomic status, education, neighborhood and physical environment, and social support networks, as well as access to health care.” Several initiatives within and outside of the healthcare system are working to address these factors.

Nonetheless, two things not mentioned in these studies need to be pointed out. Dr. Albert Arteaga, Chair of LaSalle Medical Associates, the Inland Empire’s largest independent healthcare provider, said, “We not only need more Black physicians, but we also need both doctors and patients to communicate more openly.”

Dr. Arteaga points out that it is only natural that Black patients will feel more comfortable being treated by a Black physician.

A 2021 study from the National Library of Medicine (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5871929/) found that 5.8% of family medicine doctors are Black, 7.8% of internal medicine specialists, and 7.3% of pediatricians.

Blacks make up 13.6% of the U.S. population, so the number of Black physicians is under-represented.

Dr. Arteaga adds that a key factor in patient satisfaction with their healthcare provider is trust. “At LaSalle,” commented Dr. Arteaga, “we address this in several ways.

“One is that when we open a facility, it stays open in the same location. Our Black and Hispanic patients know that the LaSalle clinic they visit is going to be in the same place for the long term. Our patients trust that their LaSalle facility isn’t going to move. We opened our first clinic in Fontana in 1984 and it’s still in the same location,” he continued.

LaSalle employs a diverse staff who all provide a Gold Standard of care for their patients. Part of that lofty standard includes communicating effectively and openly with patients. The old saw about “bedside manner” includes the style of a person’s communication with others, per Merriam-Webster,(https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bedside%20manner) and LaSalle’s staff are skilled at providing a good bedside manner.

“Another thing our patients can count on is that their health care provider won’t change. We don’t believe in transferring staff from one location to another. The relationship a LaSalle patient has with their doctor won’t be interrupted because of some HR policy that moves providers around.

“Lastly, our facilities are scrupulously clean. We maintain a Gold Standard of cleanliness in all our clinics that match our Gold Standard of care for all patients, regardless of their racial or ethnic background.”

Dr. Arteaga emphasized, “We encourage anyone who feels uneasy about communicating with their health care provider to contact their insurer and ask for a different doctor. Good communication is so important a part of good healthcare, no one should be going without it.”

For more information call 1-855-349-6019 or go online to LaSalleMedical.com (https://www.lasallemedicalassociates.com/).

About LaSalle Medical Associates
LaSalle Medical Associates, Inc. is one of the largest independent and Latino-owned healthcare companies in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties (https://www.lasallemedicalassociates.com/locations/). The corporate office is in Redlands (https://www.lasallemedicalassociates.com/locations/).

LaSalle is also an Independent Practice Association (IPA) of independently contracted doctors, hospitals, and clinics, delivering high-quality patient care to over 350,000 patients in Fresno, Kings, Los Angeles, Madera, Riverside, San Bernardino and Tulare counties.

Carl M Dameron
Dameron Communications
+1 909-534-9500
Carl@DameronCommunications.com