A research team led by Brown University community health investigator Shubing Cai looked at hundreds of thousands of patient records from more than 14,000 nursing homes for the 2006/2007 and 2008-2009 flu seasons.
The study, published in the journal Health Affairs, found the overall vaccination rate for nursing homes was 82.75 percent, which is short of the 90 percent goal set by Medicare and Medicaid. For whites, the rate was 83.46 percent and for blacks it was 77.75 percent, the study said.
"One reason you would potentially see a difference is that blacks and whites are, by and large, served by different nursing homes and there's lots of evidence to suggest that blacks are served in nursing homes that are not as good," senior author Vincent Mor, a professor of health services policy and practice at the Providence, R.I., school, said in a statement.
"However, we also see a pretty persistent difference within the same homes, although it is not as large and it has lessened over time."
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