Coordinated Efforts and Goal Setting Help States Improve Health Care for Minorities

Researching the role of state purchasers and regulators in reducing racial and ethnic health disparities

From 2001 to 2002, researchers with the National Academy for State Health Policy at the Center for Health Policy Development examined the ways in which states use their power to purchase and regulate health care services to reduce disparities in health due to racial and ethnic differences.

Key Findings

A 2002 report from the academy — State Purchasing and Regulation of Health Care Services: A Snapshot of Strategies to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities — lists these key findings:

  • State purchasers and regulators of health care services have at their disposal a number of tools to address racial and ethnic disparities; the most common of these is translation and interpreter services.
  • State strategies vary depending on the needs of minority populations, and the state's capacity to address them.
  • The issue of racial disparities can slip through the cracks if states fail to focus on it.
  • Many states lack performance measures and data to focus their strategies.
  • States may have opportunities to improve the effectiveness of health care purchasing and regulatory strategies by increased collaboration.

Funding

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) supported this project through a grant of $93,305.