Sharpening Medicare's tools for reducing racial and ethnic health disparities

Racial and ethnic disparities in health care experiences and health outcomes in the U.S. are well documented. The recent Institute of Medicine report, Unequal Treatment, concluded that racial and ethnic minorities tend to receive lower-quality health care than non-minorities, even when controlling for insurance status and other access-related factors. The academic, medical, and policy communities have little information and less consensus on how to address these disparities within our health system. We have identified several leverage points--health systems, health plans, and purchasers--as avenues for addressing these issues through various intervention strategies. The purpose of this project is for the National Academy of Social Insurance to establish a study panel to examine how the major public purchaser in the U.S., the Medicare program, can be mobilized to analyze, understand, and potentially reduce disparities in care for its enrollees. Project deliverables will include commissioned papers, issue briefs, and a final report that will outline a comprehensive plan for reducing disparities in the Medicare program. This final report will identify leverage points for reducing disparities within Medicare through program management and policy changes, recommendations for improving data collection and analysis, and suggestions for quality improvement efforts. This project will be considered successful if the interim papers and final report provide programming guidance for further work with Medicare, provide practical policy and program recommendations to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and encourage new policy maker interest in reducing racial and ethnic disparities for the 41 million individuals who receive health care financed by the Medicare program.

Grant Details

Amount Awarded $389,240.00

Awarded on: 12/23/2003

Time frame: 1/1/2004 - 12/31/2006

Grant Number: 50015


National Academy of Social Insurance

1200 New Hampshire Avenue, N.W., Suite 830
Washington, 20036-6830


Paul N. Van de Water
Project Director