Review: City councilors want health authorities to consider systemic racism when it comes to medical resources

This article reports on a recent Boston city council meeting at which councilors urged local hospitals and health authorities that may be forced to allocate scarce critical care resources to consider the impact of systemic racism on the prevalence of preexisting health conditions that are part of assessing a patient’s priority for resource allocation.

Massachusetts state health officials issued guidelines for scarce resource allocation that prioritizes patients most likely to survive with intervention and to live longer overall. The guidance is not mandatory, and Boston city councilors urged hospitals and health authorities to consider the impact of race and systemic racism on health in making potential allocation decisions if resources become scarce. The city councilors emphasized that patients’ underlying health conditions that may be factored into this assessment, such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and asthma, are more prevalent in communities of color and that these disparities result from historical and systemic inequities and racism. Simultaneously, communities of color appear to represent a disproportionate share of COVID-19 cases based on initial data, a combination of factors that threatens to further inequitably burden these communities if case surge results in a need to ration critical resources.

|2020-04-16T16:27:36-04:00April 16th, 2020|COVID-19 Literature|Comments Off on Review: City councilors want health authorities to consider systemic racism when it comes to medical resources

About the Author: Daniel Orenstein

Daniel Orenstein
Daniel G. Orenstein, JD, MPH, is Visiting Assistant Professor of Law at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis. He teaches in the areas of administrative law, public health law, and health care law and policy. His research focuses on public health law, policy, and ethics, and he was previously Deputy Director of the Network for Public Health Law Western Region, where much of his work centered on emergency preparedness and response, including resource allocation and government authority during declared emergencies, as well as vaccination policy.

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