U.S. Covid Funding Flaw Shortchanges Hospitals in Black Communities

The federal government is doling out pandemic relief money to hospitals using a formula that discriminates against predominantly Black communities because, in general, less is spent on their health care even when their need is greater. The method used by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to help medical providers hammered by Covid is based on past revenue at those institutions. This shortchanges counties that have more Black residents, even though they have higher numbers of patients with Covid-19 — or with other conditions that put them at greater risk for it — as well as hospitals that are under the greatest financial strain, according to report published in JAMA last month. “Communities of color tend to spend less for the same health-care need for a lot of different reasons,” said Pragya Kakani, a Phd student in health policy at Harvard University who was the report’s lead author.

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