Addressing Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities by Improving Health Care Quality

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<p>Recent Commonwealth Fund research has sought to answer a key question: Do racial and ethnic disparities in health care quality occur because minority Americans are treated differently by their providers, or because minorities receive care in lower-quality facilities? In a <a href="/aboutus/aboutus_show.htm?doc_id=675762">new column,</a> Anne Beal, M.D., M.P.H., assistant vice president for the Program on Quality of Care for Underserved Populations, discusses whether disparities are the result of who you are or where you seek care.<br><br>Dr. Beal draws on the newly published <em>Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care: A Chartbook,</em> which presents compelling evidence that health care disparities in hospitals are often due to the quality of the facilities minorities visit. She also outlines quality improvement strategies for reducing disparities, such as establishing medical homes and transforming safety net hospitals and clinics into high-performing institutions. Along with ensuring that everyone has access to affordable health insurance, such initiatives, says Dr. Beal, could benefit all Americans while significantly improving care for minority populations.</p>