Dis­par­ity de­tails

Lack of in­sur­ance is big­gest prob­lem

Modern Healthcare - - The Week In Healthcare - Jes­sica Zig­mond

Not only do health­care dis­par­i­ties con­tinue to be a chronic prob­lem in the U.S., but dis­par­i­ties for can­cer, heart fail­ure and pneu­mo­nia de­serve spe­cial at­ten­tion, the Agency for Health­care Re­search and Qual­ity re­ported last week.

The group’s an­nual Na­tional Health­care Dis­par­i­ties Re­port was re­leased si­mul­ta­ne­ously with its Na­tional Health­care Qual­ity Re­port on pa­tient safety (See story, above). In its dis­par­i­ties re­port, the AHRQ said that in the mea­sures that track both qual­ity of care and ac­cess to care, dis­par­i­ties per­sist for all pop­u­la­tions. And, as be­fore, a lack of in­sur­ance con­tin­ues to be a lead­ing cause of health­care in­equal­i­ties among pop­u­la­tions.

“We al­ways think about a model that thinks about volt­age drops,” said Carolyn Clancy, di­rec­tor of the AHRQ. “If you think about the trans­former and the out­let in your house, there is a lot of po­ten­tial for drops along the way,” she said, liken­ing this model to health­care. “One is: Are you of­fered in­sur­ance? A sec­ond is: Can you af­ford it if you are of­fered it?” she added. “A third is: How gen­er­ous is the cov­er­age? Some of the cov­er­age is like a hospi­tal gown—de­pend­ing on how you look at it, you’re cov­ered.”

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