OBJECTIVE: To examine whether racial and ethnic differences in the distribution of individuals across types of health plans explain differences in satisfaction and trust with their physicians.
DATA SOURCES: Data were derived from the 1998-1999 Community Tracking Household and Followback Studies and consisted of a nationwide sample of adults (18 years and older).
DATA COLLECTION: The data were collected by telephone survey. Surveys were administered in English and Spanish. The response rate for the Household Survey was 63 percent, and the match rate for the Followback Survey was 59 percent.
STUDY DESIGN: Multivariate analyses used regression methods to detect independent effects of respondent race and ethnicity on satisfaction and trust with physician, while controlling for enrollment in different types of health plans.
PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Racial and ethnic minorities are more likely than whites to have lower levels of trust and satisfaction with their physician. The most prominent differences occurred within the Latino and Native American/Asian American/Pacific Islander/Other ("Other") populations. Plan type does not mitigate the relationship between race/ethnicity and trust and satisfaction for the overall adult population.
CONCLUSIONS: Disparate levels of trust and satisfaction exist within ethnic and minority populations, even when controlling for the distribution of individuals across types of health plans. The results demonstrate a need to better understand the health care-related factors that drive disparate trust and satisfaction.
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