Doctors should list their race

Knowledge of a doctor’s race could bring more minorities in for check-ups.

When it comes to health care for minority patients, Highmark Inc. has made an innovative yet slightly radical proposal. The health insurance company has started asking its customers if they want doctorsâÄô race or ethnicity listed in their physician directory. Some people support this act as a measure to reduce health care disparity. Highmark chose to conduct the survey because national studies reveal that minorities do not receive the same quality of health care as white people. The revised directory would potentially help minority patients select a doctor with whom they feel more comfortable. Compared to other demographic groups, poorer minorities have lower rates in terms of going to the doctorâÄôs office. Instead of relying on a primary physician, some head to the emergency rooms of hospitals when they need medical attention. Assuredly, this policy seems slightly extreme amid our 21st century sense of political correctness. But if this plan will truly encourage disadvantaged minorities to increase their attendance at the doctorâÄôs office, then its results will justify its initial impression. Critics might say the policy would unnecessarily categorize doctors. If their race is listed, then maybe their sex should also be marked, for example. ThereâÄôs some validity to the criticsâÄô concerns, but they forget to take a realistic and holistic outlook on the issue. The overall impact of this policy shouldnâÄôt be shunned, even if it deals with a difficult subject. This editorial, accessed via UWire, was originally published in The Pitt News at the University of Pittsburgh. Please send comments to [email protected].