African-American physicians' views on health reform: results of a survey

J Natl Med Assoc. 1994 Mar;86(3):191-9.


Little is known about African-American physicians' health system experience or their opinions on health reform. In an attempt to obtain socioculturally relevant data quantifying these experiences and opinions, the National Medical Association administered a 38-question, 80-item survey instrument in August 1993. The questionnaire was completed by 236 physicians. The results indicate that African-American physicians feel health care is a right and that the health system needs fundamental change. Although there was no consensus on the type of health reform needed, approximately 35% cited availability and access to care to be the greatest problem facing the system with high costs of care (18.2%) ranking second. Unique findings in the survey indicated respondents felt that the needs and concerns of most African Americans will not be fairly addressed in the reform of the health-care system, that African-African physicians are not included in the formation of health-care policies, and that African-American physicians are facing high levels of professional and healthcare system racial discrimination. More than 99% of African-American physicians reported some degree of racial discrimination in the practice of medicine including peer review, obtaining practice privileges at hospitals, hospital staff promotions, Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements, malpractice suits, private insurance oversight and reimbursements, and referral practices of white colleagues. These findings have profound health policy, health financing, and health service delivery implications and should be included in debates and deliberations on health reform.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Black or African American / psychology*
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Health Care Reform*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • United States