Time has arrived for Atlanta leaders to eliminate systemic racism, healthcare disparities

In 2021, the Lown Institute, an independent think tank, released a ranking system for U.S. hospitals’ on the degree to which they are adequately caring for the lower income and patients of color. Sadly, only two Atlanta metro area hospitals ranked in the top 100 for racial inclusivity, Grady Memorial Hospital and Wellstar Atlanta Medical Center and Emory University Hospital Midtown. This is likely a function of their location in downtown Atlanta rather than an actual strategy to address racial inclusivity and health equity. More

Racial equity is essential to hospital quality and some in Philly are falling short, new report says

“Hospitals reside in communities and are part of communities. Our view is they shouldn’t just serve a community, they should genuinely be part of a community,” said Vikas Saini, a physician and president of the Lown Institute. “A lot of the contemporary rankings that look at reputation or mortality, surgical complications, don’t capture that dimension. We set out to create a lens through which to view the hospital system that’s different.”

“It’s not that Black people aren’t getting hospital care — they are — but for every hospital that’s tilted one way, there’s another that’s tilted the other,” Saini said.

And the ‘Shkreli Award’ goes to …

Through the years, we’ve learned not to underestimate the lengths to which institutions and individuals will go to protect their bottom lines. We like to think that no bad behavior can surprise us anymore—but then we learn better. Last year, we found a pharmaceutical company seeking the financially advantageous “orphan” drug designation for a drug it said was for a rare disease. The disease was COVID-19.
When we put all the examples of Shkreli-like behavior together, they stop looking like anecdotes and start looking like evidence. That’s the point of the awards: to highlight the structural weaknesses in health care that allow this kind of behavior to occur.

Hospitals overuse medical tests and procedures that don’t help patients, analysis finds

“Overuse is ubiquitous,” said Dr. Vikas Saini, president of the Lown Institute. “Nearly every hospital is doing at least some things that patients don’t really need.” “There is improvement,” he added, “but it is very slow and it is very uneven.”

Saini, of the Lown Institute, said he hopes more attention on overuse will push hospitals to do better. “We’re trying to create new norms for what it means to be a good hospital,” he said.


The top 50 hospitals for racial inclusivity, according to the Lown Institute

The Lown Institute's report is yet another effort in a series of recent attempts to quantify and rank health care organizations' progress on achieving health equity. The authors delivered a bold and necessary message: Hospitals across the U.S. are racially segregated—that is to say, their Medicare patients' racial demographics don't match the demographics in their surrounding communities. These results might come as a shock to some—especially for those working at hospitals near the bottom of the list. But this data shouldn't be surprising. More

A new report ranking urban hospitals based on racial inclusivity finds ‘de facto segregation’

Overall, in the top 50 most inclusive hospitals, people of color made up 61% of patients on average, compared to 17% in the bottom 50 hospitals. “This seems to be how the system works — [there is] a pattern of de facto segregation,” Saini, of the Lown Institute, said. In large urban areas, safety-net hospitals, which provide care regardless of a patient’s insurance status or ability to pay, almost exclusively cater to low-income people of color while other hospitals in the area take care of a whiter, richer population, Saini said. While there are several factors, including residential segregation and insurance status, driving this trend, it is a pretty clear example of structural racism. “The example I’ve been using is can anyone imagine having a Black airport and a white airport a mile apart? Does that even make any sense? And yet in some ways, that’s what we have with hospitals,” he said. More