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Fewer African-Americans Choose Hospice Care. Here's Why

The number of people who choose hospice care in the U.S. has grown steadily in recent years.  But researchers have also noticed that among African-Americans, the use of hospice is disproportionately smaller. Recent federal statistics show that  while 47 percent of white Medicare recipients approaching end of life enrolled in a hospice program, only 35 percent of African-Americans did so. The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization reportsthat in 2013, 8.4 percent of U.S. hospice patients were black.  

WFAE has been exploring end-of-life care this year. To continue the conversation, Mark Rumsey spoke with Duke University Geriatric Medicine Specialist and professor, Dr. Kimberly Johnson. She has studied the use of hospice care by  older African-Americans.

Mark Rumsey grew up in Kansas and got his first radio job at age 17 in the town of Abilene, where he announced easy-listening music played from vinyl record albums.