Patients fly in from all over the country to get care at Massachusetts General Hospital. Yet, most black Bostonians don’t travel the five to 10 miles from their neighborhoods to take advantage of the hospital’s immense medical resources. Just 11 percent of Bostonians admitted to the city’s largest hospital are black, far less than its peers.
The picture is similar at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, one of the world’s top oncology centers. Nearly 2 in every 5 white Boston residents diagnosed with cancer are treated there, but, among black residents with the disease, it’s 1 in 5.
Across town, meanwhile, white residents of the South End are more likely than black residents to leave the neighborhood for inpatient care rather than go to nearby Boston Medical Center, once a public hospital. Blacks account for half of Boston patients at the former Boston City Hospital — by far the most of any hospital in the city.
Though the issue gets scant attention in this center of world-class medicine, segregation patterns are deeply imbedded in Boston health care. Simply put: If you are black in Boston, you are less likely to get care at several of the city’s elite hospitals than if you are white.