The Curious Case of the “Alpha Patient Population”

Khiara M. Bridges

in Reproducing Race

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780520268944
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520949447 | DOI:
The Curious Case of the “Alpha Patient Population”

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This chapter explores the use of the term “Alpha patient population” to refer to the individuals who received Medicaid-subsidized prenatal care from the clinic. It considers how it is that the vastly different groups of women who seek prenatal health care from the Alpha can be referred to as a single population. It argues that the shared poverty of the pregnant women who become patients at the Alpha Hospital enables them to be seen as “high risk”. It then juxtaposes “Alpha patient population” with a figure that staff, providers, and administrators offered when speaking about the imagined the “average” Alpha patient. It concludes that the “Alpha patient population” operates as a deracialized racialist discourse that allows the providers, staff, and administrators who evoked it to speak of race tacitly, yet avoid its explicit mention.

Keywords: Alpha patient population; Medicaid; subsidized prenatal care; Alpha Hospital; high risk; deracialized

Chapter.  22794 words. 

Subjects: Race and Ethnicity

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