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Doctors who treat Latinos aren't confident they can provide the best care

Photo by Seattle Municipal Archives/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Disparities in medical services have long landed minorities on the losing end of the health care system, with several studies documenting the lack of quality care experienced by many black Americans. And it's no better for Latinos, new research out of UCLA and City University of New York shows.

The study, whose results are featured in the new edition of Health Affairs, focused on health providers who treat Latino patients. What researchers found is that physicians who treat primarily Latino patients, as compared with those whose patients are primarily non-Latino whites, are less likely than their peers to believe they are able to provide patients with high-quality care.

Among the reasons these doctors cited: inadequate time with patients, their patients' lack of ability to afford health care, communication difficulties, a relative lack of available specialists, a lack of timely transmission of medical reports, and patients' failure to adhere to recommended treatments, the latter not surprising for patients on a tight budget.