Health Equity

Virtua Joins Blue Cross and Others to Eliminate Race-Based Medicine

Virtua is among 12 Philadelphia-area health systems collaborating with Independence Blue Cross to remove race as a factor in clinical guidelines used to make treatment decisions. Such “race-based medicine” has contributed to health inequities in the region and beyond, says Independence CEO Gregory E. Deavens.

For example, race is often considered when interpreting a lung test. The system assumes Black and Asian patients have smaller lung capacity compared to their white counterparts. As a result, the test fails to detect lung disease in many Black and Asian patients. 

The group, called the Regional Coalition to Eliminate Race-Based Medicine, will initially review 15 tools used to diagnose illness or make treatment decisions, for conditions ranging from heart disease to breast cancer. 

“All people deserve equal access to high-quality, safe health care,” said Virtua President and CEO Dennis W. Pullin, FACHE. “At Virtua Health, we are proud and honored to be part of this groundbreaking effort, which will improve health outcomes for so many.”  

Read in the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Business Journal. (Note: story access may require a subscription.)