Perceived racial discrimination in health care: a comparison of Veterans Affairs and other patients

Am J Public Health. 2009 Nov;99 Suppl 3(Suppl 3):S718-24. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2008.150730. Epub 2009 May 14.

Abstract

Objectives: We compared rates of perceived racial discrimination in health care settings for veteran and nonveteran patients and for veterans who used the Veterans Affairs health care system and those who did not.

Methods: Data were drawn from the 2004 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. We used logistic regression to examine whether perceived racial discrimination in health care was associated with veteran status or use of Veterans Affairs health care, after adjusting for patient characteristics.

Results: In this sample of 35,902 people, rates of perceived discrimination were equal for veterans and nonveterans (3.4% and 3.5%, respectively; crude odds ratio [OR] = 1.00; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.77, 1.28; adjusted OR = 0.92; 95% CI = 0.66, 1.28). Among veterans (n = 3420), perceived discrimination was more prevalent among patients who used Veterans Affairs facilities than among those who did not (5.4% vs 2.7%; OR = 2.08; 95% CI = 1.04, 4.18). However, this difference was not significant after adjustment for patient characteristics (OR = 1.30; 95% CI = 0.54, 3.13).

Conclusions: Perceived racial discrimination in health care was equally prevalent among veterans and nonveterans and among veterans who used the Veterans Affairs health care system and those who did not.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
  • Delivery of Health Care*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prejudice*
  • United States
  • United States Department of Veterans Affairs*
  • Young Adult