New Ranking Determines Detroit as Most Segregated Hospital Market

FJ Thomas

Sarasota, FL ( – The term, “care team segregation” is a phenomenon that occurs when some teams of providers in the same hospital primarily see white patients, while other teams primarily see minorities. Segregation of patient loads can directly affect outcomes. In fact, one study concluded that hospitals with a higher level of provider team segregation also have a higher death rate in black patients who undergo heart surgery.

According to a new analytic ranking from the Lown Institute, segregation occurs among hospitals in some of the biggest cities in the country. Lown Institute, located in Needham, Massachusetts is a nonpartisan committee advocating for health equality, ending low-value care, and bettering the patient relationship.

The ranking reviewed how well more than 2,800 hospitals treated patients of color in their area using Medicare claims data, and the 2020 American Community Survey from the U.S. Census Bureau. Census data was used to determine ethnic groups in both hospital patient and community areas by zip code. Patients with zip codes near the local hospital were weighted more heavily than zip codes further away. Hospitals were given a higher score if they had higher patient counts with zip codes with greater proportions of non-white patients when compared to their community.

In the top ten most segregated cities, at least 50 percent of the hospitals had patient loads that did not match their community demographics. Detroit ranked number one as having the most segregated market. When comparing treatment for all patients, their care was 90 percent segregated. When viewed by COVID treatment only, the percentage was a 0 percent segregation rate. Interestingly enough, Sinai-Grace Hospital of Detroit also made their top 50 racially inclusive hospitals list.

Missouri came in second and third with St Louis and Kansas City. St Louis earned second with a 40 percent segregation rate, and a 40 percent COVID segregation rate, which was the highest of COVID percentages. Kansas City garnered third with a 75 percent overall segregation rate, and a 25 percent COVID segregation rate. Truman Medical Center in Kansas City ranked number nine in the top 50 most racially inclusive hospital list.

Atlanta and Philadelphia tied for fourth and fifth place. Both cities had a 68 percent segregation rate overall. Atlanta had an 18 percent COVID rate, and Philadelphia had a 32 percent COVID segregation rate. What is interesting however, is that several hospitals from Atlanta and Philadelphia made the top 50 racially inclusive hospital list. In Atlanta, Grady Memorial, Emory University, Wellstar Medical Center all made the racially inclusive ranking. In Philadelphia, Albert Einstein Medical Center and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center both made the racially inclusive hospital list.

When ranked by COVID patients only, Baltimore ranked second with 39 percent segregation for COVID only patients, but ranked ninth overall with a 56 percent segregation. Chicago also had a 39 percent COVID only segregation rate, and garnered the fifteenth spot with a 50 percent segregation rate.