Objectives: Blacks and Hispanics face a higher incidence rate of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and tend to experience poorer access to quality health care compared with Whites. Income, education, and insurance coverage differentials are typically identified as risk factors, but neighborhood-level analyses may provide additional insights. We examine whether neighborhood racial composition contributes to racial/ethnic inequities in access to high-quality dialysis care in Chicago.
Methods: Data are drawn from the United States Renal Data System merged to the ESRD Quality Incentive Program file and the American Community Survey (2005-2009) for facility and neighborhood characteristics (N = 2797). Outcomes included (1) spatial access (travel time to dialysis facilities) and (2) realized access (actual use of quality care). Neighborhood racial/ethnic composition was categorized into four types: predominantly White, Black, and Hispanic neighborhoods, and racially integrated neighborhoods.
Results: Blacks lived closer to a dialysis facility but traveled the same distance to their own dialysis compared with Whites. Hispanics had longer travel time to any dialysis than Whites, and the difference between Hispanics and Whites became no longer significant after adjusting for neighborhood racial/ethnic composition. Blacks and Hispanics had better access to a high-quality facility if they lived in integrated neighborhoods (OR = 1.85 and 3.77, respectively, p < 0.01) or in neighborhoods with higher concentrations of their own race/ethnicity (OR = 1.68 for Blacks in Black neighborhoods and 1.92 for Hispanics in Hispanic neighborhoods, p < 0.05) compared with Whites in predominantly White neighborhoods.
Conclusion: Expanding opportunities for Blacks and Hispanics to gain access to racially integrated and minority neighborhoods may help alleviate racial/ethnic inequities in access to quality care among kidney disease patients.
Keywords: Access to health care; Neighborhood integration; Neighborhood segregation; Racial/ethnic inequities; Travel time.