Disparities and Quality Improvement

Federal Policy Levers

Published in: Health Affairs, v. 24, no. 2, Mar./Apr. 2005, p. 354-364

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2004

by Nicole Lurie, Minna Jung, Risa J. Lavizzo-Mourey

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Using a quality improvement framework to address racial and ethnic disparities in health care highlights multiple opportunities for federal and state governments to exert policy leverage, particularly through their roles as purchasers and regulators. Under such a framework, federal and state governments can expand their roles in collecting race/ethnicity data; define universal and meaningful race/ethnicity categories; more broadly disseminate standards for cultural competence; and demand the reduction of disparities through leveraging their status as collectively the largest U.S. health care payer.

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