Patient Experience for Hispanic Older Adults Varies by Language Preference

Published in: Medical Care, Volume 60, Issue 12, pages 895-900 (December 2022). doi: 10.1097/MLR.0000000000001783

Posted on RAND.org on November 15, 2022

by Robert Weech-Maldonado, Amelia Haviland, Katrin Hambarsoomian, Steven C. Martino, Jacob W. Dembosky, Loida Tamayo, Sarah J. Gaillot, Marc N. Elliott

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Background

Hispanic people with Medicare report worse patient experiences than non-Hispanic White counterparts. However, little research examines how these disparities may vary by language preference (English/Spanish).

Objectives

Using Medicare Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) survey data, assess whether 2014-2018 disparities in patient experiences for Hispanic people with Medicare vary by language preference.

Research Design

We fit a series of linear, case-mix adjusted models predicting Medicare CAHPS measures by race/ethnicity/language preference (Hispanic Spanish-respondents; Hispanic Spanish-preferring English-respondents; Hispanic English-preferring respondents; and non-Hispanic White English-respondents).

Subjects

A total of 1,006,543 Hispanic and non-Hispanic White respondents to the Medicare 2014-2018 CAHPS surveys.

Results

There were disparities for all Hispanic groups relative to non-Hispanic White English-respondents. Hispanic Spanish-preferring English-respondents reported worse experience than Hispanic Spanish-respondents for getting care quickly (-8 points), getting needed care (-5 points), doctor communication (-2 points), and customer service (-1 point), but better experiences for flu immunization (+2 points). Similarly, Hispanic Spanish-preferring English-respondents reported worse experience than Hispanic English-preferring respondents for getting care quickly (-4 points) and getting needed care (-2 points). Hispanic English-preferring respondents reported worse experience than Hispanic Spanish-respondents for getting care quickly (-4 points), getting needed care (-3 points), doctor communication and customer service (-2 points each), but better experience for flu immunization (+2 points).

Conclusions

Regardless of language preference, Hispanic people with Medicare experience disparities in patient care relative to non-Hispanic White English-preferring counterparts. Hispanic Spanish-preferring English-respondents report the worse experiences, followed by Hispanic English-preferring respondents. Hispanic Spanish-respondents experienced the least disparities of the three Hispanic language subgroups.

Research conducted by

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