A study published this week in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that in the last six months of life cost for care for Hispanic patients ($31,702) was 60% higher than for non-Hispanic white ($20,166) patients. I have been there at the end-of-life for four people who were very close to me. If the costs are higher for Hispanics than for non-Hispanics whites I would say it is because no one took the time to talk to the patient and the patient’s family.
Hispanics are the group least likely to have a regular source of care. This means we are also less likely to have a relationship with a provider who understands our wishes on end-of-life issues. Ensuring the dignity and comfort all people deserve at the end-of-life is one more reason why health reform is so important. Hispanics must have access to health care providers who can understand their patient’s language and cultural values and can support families in their decisions about end-of-life care. It’s a simple matter of quality of care.