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AHRQ National Healthcare Disparities Report Highlights Challenges for Racial & Ethnic Minorities

Posted: April 23, 2012

The 2011 National Healthcare Disparities Report released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) shows that access to health care was not improving for most racial and ethnic groups in the years 2002 through 2008 leading up to enactment of the Affordable Care Act. The congressionally mandated disparities and quality reports, which AHRQ has produced annually since 2003, are based on over 40 different national sources that collect data regularly. The reports, which include about 250 health care measures, show the persistent challenges in access to care faced by most racial and ethnic groups. Fifty percent of the measures that tracked disparities in health care access showed no improvement between the years 2002 and 2008, while 40 percent of those measures were getting worse.

Specifically, for 2002 through 2008, Latinos, American Indians and Alaska Natives experienced worse access to care than Whites on more than 60 percent of the access measures, while African Americans experienced worse access on slightly more than 30 percent of the access measures. Asian Americans experienced worse access to care than non-Latino Whites on only 17 percent of the access measures.

The 2011 National Healthcare Quality Report  tracks the health care system through quality measures such as the percentage of adult smokers who received advice from a provider to quit or the percentage of children who received recommended vaccinations. Based on the same data and measures used in the disparities report, the congressionally mandated quality report found that overall health care quality improved slowly for the general population between the years 2002 and 2008. Both reports will serve to track progress on the Affordable Care Act in the future.

View the National Healthcare Quality Report and National Healthcare Disparities Report. In addition, AHRQ's NHQRDRnet is an online query system that allows you to access national and State data on the quality of, and access to, health care from scientifically credible measures and data sources.

Read more on the AHRQ website. Download the 2011 National Healthcare Disparities Report (pdf 5.6 MB). Download the 2011 National Healthcare Quality Report (pdf 5.2 MB).



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