Many Black Americans would have to travel across county lines just to find an open spot with a cardiologist, a new analysis found.
About 16.8 million Black Americans — roughly 1 in 3 — live in counties with little or no access to heart specialists, according to a report from GoodRx, a digital health company that provides drug discounts and also researches health trends.
When zooming in on counties that have sizable Black populations, the analysts found that 72% of these counties are “cardiology deserts,” most of them concentrated in southeastern states.
The findings illustrate the barriers to accessing care for a population that already faces a disproportionate burden from cardiovascular disease. It’s the leading cause of death in the U.S., and Black Americans face a 30% higher risk of death from heart disease than white people.
“We’re missing a huge chunk of individuals who really need this care and are having to jump through massive hoops to access that care,” said Tori Marsh, director of research at GoodRx. “When you have to jump through those hoops, you’re likely not going to.”