Responding to a June 20 op-ed published in the Washington Post, AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack said the alarmist headline misrepresented the facts. In a letter to the editor, Pollack wrote:
“It was dismaying to see the June 20 op-ed ‘Segregated hospitals are killing Black people,’ which made many thoughtful and valid observations about current challenges in hospital care, so poorly served by an alarmist and misleading headline.
“Hospitals are about treating patients and saving lives, period. And that means anyone and everyone who walks through their doors. To imply otherwise does a profound disservice to the front-line care teams and support staff who have worked tirelessly over the past 18 months to help our nation get through the worst public health emergency of the past century.
“No one denies that there are disparate health outcomes by race, ethnicity or income level. It is also true that hospitals’ resources can be affected by the economic circumstances of their surrounding communities. As the writers correctly noted, increasing Medicaid payment levels could help address this structural inequity.
“U.S. hospitals and health systems are dedicated to helping every person and community achieve their highest potential for health. The American Hospital Association and its Institute for Diversity and Health Equity are also committed to advancing health equity and eliminating health-care disparities. Though there is a great deal left to do in achieving this goal, careless and misleading headlines do not move us closer to realizing the health-care system we all want.”