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Study Shows Insured African-Americans More Likely To Use ERs Than Other Groups

— A new study reveals African-Americans in California who are enrolled in HMOs are much more likely to use ERs than other ethnic groups. Staff at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research say they can't explain the phenomenon.

UCLA researcher Dylan Roby, who wrote the report, said nearly nine out of ten African-Americans enrolled in HMOs say they have a usual source of care. About the same percentage say they've seen a doctor within the last two years. So Roby said it appears higher use of ERs by African-Americans isn't being driven by barriers to primary care.

"It could be an issue with barriers to advanced specialty care, where they go to the ER to get additional care," Roby said. "Or, it could be related to the fact that they couldn't get certain services through their primary care physician."

Roby said his study suggests a lot of African-Americans who have health insurance aren't getting the kind of care they need.

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