Objectives: To determine what roles patient-provider and patient-staff racial concordance play on patients' perceptions within the health care setting.
Design, setting, participants: Data from the Commonwealth Fund 2001 Quality of Care telephone survey. Analysis focused on the subsample of 6,066 adults who live in the continental United States and who reported having a regular provider or a usual source of care (n = 4,762).
Measurements and results: We analyzed patients' responses about perceptions of disrespect, unfair treatment because of race and language, and the belief that he/she would have received better treatment if he/she belonged to a different race. We compared these perceptions of mistreatment with provider and staff racial concordance, controlling for sociodemographic variables. Contrary to our hypothesis, Hispanics were more likely to report being treated with disrespect if in a concordant relationship with their provider than if in a nonconcordant one (odds ratio [OR] 2.42, P < .01). Asians were less likely to report being treated unfairly because of race if in racially concordant relationships with providers than if in nonconcordant ones (P < .05). Hispanics were also less likely to perceive unfair treatment because of language when in concordant relationships with staff as compared to nonconcordant relationships with staff (P < .05).
Conclusions: Patients' perceptions of health care relationships may partially depend on racial concordance with providers and staff. The nature of the association between racial concordance and perceived disrespect varies by racial group, indicating that other race-specific factors may also need to be examined.