Hospices Seek to Improve Health Equity Among Tribal Communities

Posted December 7, 2022

Tribal communities are significantly less likely to utilize hospice care due to their mistrust of health systems, physical distance, and financial barriers.  According to NHPCO, only .4% of Medicare patients were tribal members.

Similar to other underserved populations, fear of discrimination and mistrust are the biggest walls between Native Americans and hospice care, according to Craig Dresang, CEO of California-based YoloCares.

“The biggest issue that is faced by Native communities when considering hospice is inherent mistrust in the system,” Dresang told Hospice News in an email. “Native communities have generations of historic intergenerational trauma that are inherently linked to mistreatment and misconduct in health care settings. Many hospice systems have perpetuated issues of mistrust — even to this day — whether through blatant discrimination or subtle micro-aggressions.”

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