AHRQ Releases National Quality and Disparities Reports
The annual National Healthcare Quality and the National Healthcare Disparities Reports have recently been released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. These reports inform the American public on the status of health care quality and disparities in the nation, where improvements can be made, and how these issues have changed over time.
The 2009 National Healthcare Disparities Report acknowledged continued disparities across quality of care and health care access. The report states that the largest disparity within the healthcare system is insurance status. Those without insurance suffer the most when it comes to obtaining recommended care, particularly preventative services. Race and socioeconomic factors continue to play a role in receiving care. Hispanics were 1.7 times as likely as Whites and poor people were 3 times as likely as high-income people to report poor provider-patient communication. In addition, for Blacks, Asians, and Hispanics, at least two-thirds of measures of quality of care are not improving meaning that the gap either stayed the same or increased over the past year.
The National Healthcare Quality Report, presented more broad information on the status of health care quality in 2009. The uninsured continue to lack preventative care services disease management. Some notable findings from the 2009 report include a 19.4% difference of women who had private insurance and received a pap smear in the past 3 years versus women with no insurance, and a 26.8% difference of adults who received a colonoscopy and had insurance versus those who did not. The report noted that while a lack of insurance is a key reason linked to poorer health care access and other social and economic issues are also related.
The 2009 AHRQ reports highlight that while we must actively work to remove all barriers that prevent individuals and populations from receiving high quality health care.
For more information on these reports and Secretary Sebillius’ reaction, click here.