This study analyzes administrative data from the Medicare program to compare differences by race in the use of 17 major procedures performed in the hospital. In both 1986 and 1992, black beneficiaries were less likely than white beneficiaries to have received these procedures while hospitalized. The largest differences were seen for "referral-sensitive surgeries" such as percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty, coronary artery bypass graft surgery, total knee replacement, and total hip replacement. These differences by race suggest that there are barriers to these services. In contrast, black beneficiaries were found to have substantially higher rates than white beneficiaries in the use of four procedures performed in the hospital: amputation of part of the lower limb, surgical debridement, arteriovenostomy, and bilateral orchiectomy. The types of procedures for which black beneficiaries have higher rates raise questions about whether there is a need for more comprehensive and continuous ambulatory care for the underlying health conditions associated with these procedures.