Racial Variation in Quality of Care Among Medicare+choice Enrollees

Black/White Patterns of Racial Disparities in Health Care Do No Necessarily Apply to Asians, Hispanics, and Native Americans

Published in: Health Affairs, v. 21, no. 6, Nov./Dec. 2002, p. 224-230

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2002

by Beth A. Virnig, Nicole Lurie, Zhen Huang, Dorothea Musgrave, A. Marshall McBean, Bryan Dowd

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This paper examines racial variation in quality of and access to care experienced by elderly persons enrolled in Medicare+Choice plans. The authors used eight individual-level Health Plan Employer Data and Information Set (HEDIS) measures to compare whites with blacks, Asians, Hispanics, and Native Americans. Across all measures, black enrollees received lower-quality care. Hispanics and Native Americans were less likely to receive some types of care but were as likely or more likely to receive other types of care. Asians received equal or better care for all measures. It is important that studies of health care quality include all racial subgroups since the black/white patterns may not apply.

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