HHS Strategic Plan, Fiscal Years 2007–2012 (Strategic Plan). Opportunities for Improvement

11/22/2015

Although some inequalities are diminishing, there are many opportunities for improvement. For all groups, measures could be identified for which the group not only received worse care than the reference group but for which this difference was getting worse rather than better.

All groups had several measures for which they received worse care and for which the difference was getting worse. For Blacks or African-Americans, Asians, and Hispanics, imbalances in health care delivery involved all the following domains of quality that could be tracked: preventive services, treatment of acute illness, management of chronic disease and disability, timeliness, and patient-centeredness. For American Indians and Alaska Natives, these negative factors appeared concentrated in the treatment of acute illness and the management of chronic disease and disability.

Hispanics and the poor faced many inequalities in access to care that were getting worse:

  • For Hispanics, not having health insurance and a usual source of care worsened; and
  • For the poor, not having a usual source of care and experiencing delays in care worsened.

Some disparities in quality of care were prominent for multiple groups, such as colorectal cancer screening, vaccinations, hospital treatment of heart attack, hospital treatment of pneumonia, services for diabetes, children hospitalized for asthma, treatment of tuberculosis, nursing home care, problems with timeliness, and problems with patient-provider communication.

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