Healthcare Quality Shows Slow Improvement

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , March 2, 2011

The reports indicate that few disparities in quality of care are getting smaller, and almost no disparities in access to care are getting smaller. Overall, blacks, American Indians and Alaska Natives received worse care than whites for about 40% of core measures. Asians received worse care than whites for about 20% of core measures. Hispanics received worse care than whites for about 60% of core measures. Poor people received worse care than high-income people for about 80% of core measures.

Of the 22 measures of access to healthcare services tracked in the reports, about 60% did not show improvement, and 40% worsened. On average, Americans report barriers to care one-fifth of the time, ranging from 3% of people saying they were unable to get or had to delay getting prescription medications to 60% of people saying their usual provider did not have office hours on weekends or nights. Among disparities in core access measures, only one—the gap between Asians and whites in the percentage of adults who reported having a specific source of ongoing care—showed a reduction.

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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