New Quality Measure Seeks to Optimize Cardiovascular Care For African Americans

Huffpost Healthy Living, 2 September 2015

In recent months, the debate on race and policing in this country has ignited passions and raised important questions. But while headlines have highlighted instances of excessive force by police and the discriminatory treatment of African Americans, the conversation hasn’t yet made the logical leap to a discussion around unequal access to care.

It is widely accepted in medical literature that African Americans, Hispanics, and the poor are receiving substandard health care. By way of example, the treatment of heart disease should not be a matter of race; it should be a matter of science and medicine. Today, there are thousands of African Americans living with heart failure (HF), and according to reputable studies, about 150,000 should be prescribed a drug regimen known as fixed-dose combination of hydralazine and isosorbide dinitrate (fixed-dose). However, of those African Americans who are clinically eligible for the therapy, very few are receiving it. And as a consequence, studies are finding that nearly 7,000 blacks die prematurely every year because they are receiving poor care. That is more lives lost than on that infamous day on September 11th and during hurricane Katrina combined; more deaths than those who lose their lives every year in encounters with police. The major difference is that these deaths are occurring outside of public view. Read more.