Bias against black doctors is … unfair, because studies have failed to show that a physician’s race affects patient outcomes. On the other hand, numerous studies have shown that patients are more satisfied with doctors of the same race. Indeed, one study showed that black patients with black doctors were 140% more likely to rate their physician as excellent than if they had a doctor of another race. White patients with white doctors were 63% more likely to say they felt their doctor listened well. And Hispanic patients with Hispanic physicians were 74% more likely to feel satisfied overall with their care.
This implies that under the current patient satisfaction scheme, all physicians—not just black physicians—may be penalized financially on the basis of race.
Consider how this plays out in real life as opposed to a think tank. A hard-working doctor (of any race) has rendered careful, considerate care to a complicated patient. Yet a relative who gets the patient satisfaction form in the mail who might be pissed off at, say, the hospital parking fees—or maybedoesn’t like the color of the doctor’s skin—will determine how well the doctor gets paid, or even if he keeps his job.
And apparently that’s OK with our government.
It should go without saying that our government has no business promoting a program like this and it should be stopped. But it’s on track to get worse with Obamacare’s “pay for performance” that will withhold even more Medicare payments for low patient satisfaction scores. This financial threat is already causing unethical administrators to pressure doctors to compromise their professional standards to order unnecessary meds and tests to bump satisfaction scores.