OAKLAND, CA, June 3, 2020 – As we face an unprecedented public health crisis and widespread anguish over police-involved violence, stemming from centuries of systematic and oppressive racial prejudice, the California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems reiterates our enduring commitment to equity for all.
Addressing racial inequality has always been at the core of public health care systems’ mission. As safety net providers, we play a critical role in California, serving mostly low-income, uninsured, immigrant, and other vulnerable populations, including those who are homeless and have complex medical and social needs. We experience firsthand the widespread impact of racial, ethnic, and economic disparities, ranging from health care to social needs like food insecurity and housing.
The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed the deep-rooted racial and ethnic injustices in our society. Public health care systems are caring for those populations most at risk for COVID-19, including people of color, who have experienced a disproportionate impact. As of today, Latinos account for 54% of COVID-19 cases in California, yet represent just only 39% of our population. COVID-19 has also shined a harsh light on mortality rates across racial and ethnic groups, with African Americans comprising 10% of COVID-19-related deaths, even though accounting for only 5.2% of cases. These individuals are more likely to be working on the front lines to keep our communities safe. They are our agricultural workers, our janitors, our delivery drivers, and other workers providing essential roles.
As we grieve for George Floyd and the many others who have died and suffered at the hands of police brutality, and we continue to reel from the COVID-19 pandemic, public health care systems stand stronger than ever in our dedication to addressing racial injustice and providing equitable health care for all.
About California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems
The California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems (CAPH) represents California’s 21 public health care systems, which include county-affiliated systems and the five University of California academic medical centers. Together, these systems form the core of the state’s health care safety net. Though accounting for just 6% of hospitals in the state, the public health care systems operate in 15 counties where more than 80% of the state’s population lives. They provide 40% of all hospital care to California’s remaining uninsured and 35% of all hospital care to Medi-Cal beneficiaries in the communities they serve. These 21 health care systems serve 2.85 million patients annually, operate more than 200 outpatient clinic facilities, and provide more than 10 million outpatient visits each year. They operate more than half of California’s top-level burn and trauma centers, and train more than half of all new doctors in the state. For more information, visit www.caph.org.
Director of Communications