NewsPlus: How race may impact the type of medical treatment you receive

A recent study showed that African Americans and Hispanics are more likely to receive inequitable healthcare compared to whites. Based on recent changes in payment models, higher risk patients are less likely to receive specialty care (lemon dropping) due to concerns related to the increased costs of managing this patient group.  Unfortunately, women, African Americans and Hispanics represent a large percentage of higher risk patients. 

This can be especially troubling for women with joint pain.

  • African Americans and Hispanics/Latinas report severe joint pain at a rate nearly two times higher than Caucasians.
  • Women represent 64% of an estimated 43 million doctor visits each year where joint pain is the symptom and arthritis is the primary diagnosis.
  • Women have less than optimal access to diagnostic, medical and surgical intervention, regardless of their insurance coverage.

Joint pain can lead to a “vicious cycle” of limited mobility, lack of activity, and obesity. It can:

  • Cause you to move less and less
  • Place you at risk for depression
  • Lead to serious conditions of heart disease and type 2 diabetes

“Movement is Life” is an initiative that hopes to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in muscle and joint health treatment, and assists with what many consider to be a grave injustice in dispensing medical care.

On Monday, December 4, Dr. Carla Harwell, MD, a member of the Movement is Life Executive Steering Committee, addressed this topic and issued a call to action to help patients discover how to break the “vicious cycle” whereby a sedentary lifestyle leads to obesity and serious health conditions including diabetes, heart disease and depression. NewsPlus correspondent, Robin Hamilton, spoke with Dr. Harwell via satellite. Visit for more information.