In recent years, significant disparities have been increasingly recognized among different patient populations in the health care system—disparities that largely mirror those in other aspects of society. An Institute of Medicine report from 2002 highlighted these disparities, finding that a consistent body of research shows substantial variations in the rates of medical procedures by race/ethnicity, even when insurance status, income, age, and severity of conditions are comparable.1 Moreover, it has been known for many years that women and racial/ethnic minorities are less likely to be offered procedures such as cardiac catheterization, coronary artery bypass graft surgery, and carotid endarterectomy.2- 4
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