New York State Web Site Lists Hospital Admission Rates by ZIP Code, Race, Ethnicity
Where a person lives, combined with race and ethnicity, can influence the kind of care they receive, according to a new Web site from the New York State Health Department, the Syracuse Post-Standard reports. The Web site uses 2005 and 2006 hospital discharge data from New York's Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System and lists hospital admission rates by ZIP code for 12 preventable conditions, including high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma and pneumonia.
The site also lists "avoidable hospitalizations" based on race and ethnicity. In one Syracuse ZIP code, hospitalization rates are one-and-a-half times higher for Hispanics and four times higher for blacks than for whites, according to the Web site. The highest hospital admission rates occurred in rural ZIP codes.
The data aims to help state health officials quickly pinpoint which areas have gaps in primary and preventive health care and will better direct services as needed and plan for community health services in the coming year.
Richard Daines, the state's health commissioner, said that racial health disparities are a problem nationwide. "What's really troubling is that even at the same socioeconomic level, African-American populations have worse health outcomes than white populations," he added. Cynthia Morrow, health commissioner of Onondaga County, said, "We live in a society where health outcomes are largely associated with income status, educational status and race," adding, "It very graphically shows us the unforgivable disparities that exist." Dennis Norfleet, Oswego County's interim public health director, said, "If people do not understand health and illness, then they are more likely to let illnesses go further to the point where they will require hospitalization" (Mulder, Syracuse Post-Standard, 1/2).