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Racial and Ethnic Disparities: States and Feds to the Rescue?

Monday, May 12, 2008

With a substantial body of evidence showing that racial and ethnic minorities receive poorer quality care than others, state and federal policy makers are looking for ways to reduce disparities. Some states have begun to experiment with strategies for reducing health disparities.

What can state and federal policy makers do to help reduce racial and ethnic disparities? Do coverage expansions alone solve the problem or do other policies also need to be pursued? What innovations are states experimenting with? What lessons if any can federal policy makers learn from state experience?

To address these and related questions, the Alliance for Health Reform and The Commonwealth Fund sponsored a May 12 briefing. The Commonwealth Fund has released a comprehensive chartbook on racial and ethnic disparities by Dr. Bruce Siegel of George Washington University and others. Researcher Brian Smedley has laid out, in a March - April 2008 Health Affairs article, ways in which disparities can be addressed through state-level health reform. These two publications provide a jumping-off point for the discussion at this briefing.

Joining the two authors above were two congressional staff reactors, Becky Shipp, Senate Finance Committee minority staff, and Caya Lewis, a member of the majority staff of the Senate HELP Committee. Ed Howard of the Alliance and Anne Beal of The Commonwealth Fund co-moderated.


 Ed Howard, Alliance for Health Reform, Moderator
 Anne Beal, The Commonwealth Fund, Moderator
 Bruce Siegel, George Washington University, Speaker
 Brian Smedley, The Opportunity Agenda, Speaker
 Becky Shipp, Senate Finance Committee, Speaker
 Caya Lewis, Senate HELP Committee, Speaker
(Click on the camera icon to see a video of the speaker's presentation.)

Transcript, Event Summary and/or Webcast and Podcast

Transcript: Racial and Ethnic Disparities: States and Feds to the Rescue? (Adobe Acrobat PDF), 5/12/2008
Full Webcast/Podcast: Racial and Ethnic Disparities: States and Feds to the Rescue?

The transcript, full webcast and podcast for this briefing, as well as videos of individual speakers' presentations, are provided by Kaiser Family Foundation.

Speaker Presentations

Anne Beal Presentation (PowerPoint), 5/12/2008
Bruce Siegel Presentation (PowerPoint), 5/12/2008
Brian Smedley Presentation (PowerPoint), 5/12/2008

(If you want to download one or more slides from these presentations, contact us at info@allhealth or click here for instructions.)

Source Materials

Disparities in Health Care Are Driven by Where Minority Patients Seek Care (Adobe Acrobat PDF), Archives of Internal Medicine, 6/25/2007
Inequitable Funding May Cause Health Care Disparities (Adobe Acrobat PDF), Archives of Internal Medicine, 6/25/2007
Expert List (Adobe Acrobat PDF), Alliance for Health Reform, 5/7/2008
Speaker Biographies (Adobe Acrobat PDF), Alliance for Health Reform, 5/7/2008
Racial and Ethnic Disparities: States and Feds to the Rescue? (Word Document), Word Document, 5/12/2008

Offsite Materials (briefing documents saved on other websites)

Racial and Ethnic Disparities in U.S. Health Care: A Chartbook, The Commonwealth Fund, 3/13/2008
Identifying and Evaluating Equity Provisions in State Health Care Reform, The Commonwealth Fund, 4/23/2008
A State Policy Agenda to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, The Commonwealth Fund, 6/28/2004
Enhancing Public Hospitals’ Reporting of Data on Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Care, The Commonwealth Fund, 1/30/2007
2007 National Healthcare Disparities Report, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2/1/2008
2007 National Healthcare Quality Report, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2/1/2008
Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities: A Quality Improvement Initiative in Medicaid Managed..., Center for Health Care Strategies, Inc., 1/1/2007
National Health Plan Collaborative Enters Phase Two of its Work to Improve the Quality of He... (Adobe Acrobat PDF),National Health Plan Collaborative, 8/22/2007
From Policy to Action: Addressing Racial and Ethnic Disparities at the Ground Level, Center for Health Care Strategies, 8/1/2007
Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law Special Issue: Comparative Perspectives on Health..., The Commonwealth Fund, 2/26/2006
Using Data on Race and Ethnicity to Improve Health Care Quality for Medicaid Beneficiaries, Center for Health Care Strategies, 6/1/2006


Caya Lewis of the U.S. Senate HELP Committee, speaker at the May 12 briefing cospsonsored by The Commonwealth Fund.

Becky Shipp of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, speaker at the May 12 briefing cosponsored by The Commonwealth Fund

Anne Beal of The Commonwealth Fund explains that racial and ethnic health disparities have non-medical, as well as medically-related, causes. From the May 12 briefing cosponsored by the Fund.

Brian Smedley of The Opportunity Agenda reviews efforts at the state level toward reducing racial and ethnic health disparities. From the May 12 briefing cosponsored by The Commonwealth Fund.

Bruce Siegel of The George Washington University reviews some of the key trends in "Racial and Ethnic Disparities in U.S. Health Care: A Chartbook." (11 min.) From the May 12 briefing cosponsored by The Commonwealth Fund.


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