Black Men in Jacksonville, Fla., Less Likely Than White Counterparts To Seek Preventive Medical Care, Have Health Insurance, County Study Finds
Black men in Jacksonville, Fla., are less likely than white men to have a primary care physician or health insurance, according to a recent report by the Duval County Health Department, the Florida Times-Union reports. According to the report, 28% of black men in the city do not have a primary care physician, compared with 19% of white men. Twenty percent of black men are uninsured, compared with 9% of whites. The study also found that 43% of black men who visited Duval County emergency departments in 2005 were uninsured, compared with 36% of white men.
The findings contribute to black men being more likely than white men to die at younger ages from manageable and treatable diseases such as diabetes, prostate cancer and heart, the Times-Union reports. Wally Smith, a professor of medicine and medical director of the Center on Health Disparities at Virginia Commonwealth University, said that such findings have been consistent for decades, adding that having a primary care physician is an important factor in receiving preventive care. Smith said that low-income men are particularly at a disadvantage for receiving preventive care because they are less likely to qualify for Medicaid.
County officials will use the findings to develop outreach programs and efforts that focus on preventive care, Tim Lawther, assistant director of the county health department, said. The efforts -- such as going to neighborhoods that have a large number of uninsured residents with diabetes to direct them to medical care -- will begin next month. The county already has a program that offers prostate screenings to men who just attended church services. Lawther said in that initiative, officials have found that most of the black men are insured but choose not to seek medical care. He said that black men often do not view routine medical care as a priority.
"If you don't go to a doctor, these things that are perfectly controllable with medical science are going to kill you," Lawther added (Galnor, Florida Times-Union, 6/23).
The report is available online (.pdf).