Black People More Likely to End up in Bad Nursing Homes

Richmond Pulse: Black People More Likely to End up in Bad Nursing Homes (December 9, 2022)

Racial disparities exist in nursing home care, with Black residents more likely to die due to COVID-19, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation report published in October 2020. One major issue: Black aging people are more likely to be sent to bad nursing homes.

“Eighty percent of Black Medicare patients are admitted to just 20% of facilities,” Gelila Selassie, senior attorney at Justice in Aging, said Thursday at “Racial Disparities in Nursing Facilities—and How to Address Them,” a briefing hosted by the organization. “Those facilities have very poor Medicare star ratings.”

Gelila said nursing homes with poor Medicare ratings have “excessive rehospitalizations, high levels of infections, prevalence of bed sores, … low staffing levels.”

Selassie and Eric Carlson, the director of long-term services and support advocacy at Justice in Aging, published a report on racial disparities in nursing homes in September. These disparities have long existed, but COVID-19 has amplified existing problems. Selassie and Carlson identified staffing, cultural competency and issues with Medicare as particular areas that need to be reformed.

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