Numerous studies have documented racial disparities in delivery of health care treatment services, but there is little information to determine whether similar disparities exist in the delivery of preventive services.
To determine if disparities exist in preventive service delivery to non-Hispanic white patients and black patients in primary care.
Multimethod study using direct observation of patient encounters, medical record review, and patient exit questionnaire.
Four thousand three hundred thirteen outpatients presenting to 138 family physicians.
Delivery of 15 screening, 24 health-habit counseling and 11 immunization services recommended by the US Preventive Services Task Force.
Using multilevel linear regression analysis, no significant racial differences were found in rates of delivery of screening services or immunizations. However, black patients were more likely to receive preventive health-habit counseling (mean percent of patients up-to-date on all recommended counseling services, adjusted for covariates: 11.6% for black patients, 9.5% for whites, P = 0.003).
Black patients able to access primary care receive preventive services at rates equal to or greater than white patients. This suggests that efforts to increase delivery of preventive care in black patients need to focus on access to primary care.