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Palliat Med. 2008 Apr;22(3):205-13. doi: 10.1177/0269216308089305.

Racial disparity in hospice use in the United States in 2002.

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National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, Alexandria, Virginia 22314, USA.


We used complete Centers for Disease Control death certificate records and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services 100% Standard Analytic File for hospice claims for 2002 to examine differences in hospice utilization between African-American and white decedents living in the United States. White decedents were more likely to use hospice in the year before their death than African-American decedents (29% vs 22%). Cause-specific hospice utilization rates among women were consistently higher than among men within a given race. African-American decedents were consistently less likely to use hospice than white decedents for almost all conditions. Hospice utilization was lower among African-American than among white decedents in 31 of 40 states. The higher the overall hospice utilization in a state, the less the positive difference between white and African-American usage rates; that is, the more accepted hospice is, as measured by 'market share', the lower the racial disparity in its use.

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