AHA Takes On Racial Disparities in Care, Leadership

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media , July 19, 2011

Third, the group called for increasing diversity in governance and management, in board members and in executive positions, to be more reflective of their patient communities.

"The third one, our people say is most challenging, but we have a lot of members who are great case studies, people who have morphed the composition of board and senior leadership to be more reflective. But we do know that our compositions do lag. They are generally white."

On the first call to action, Umbdenstock says, better ethnic, racial, and language data will enable each hospital to better understand how their treatment processes and procedures are applied to various groups and whether they show good comparative outcomes.

"Everybody complains that this data is not being collected now, not on a patient specific basis," he explained. "We don't have it to overlay with our own quality data, to know our own populations."

"How do you know that the patients within your walls are getting the same care, and if they're getting the same care, are they getting the same outcomes."

It may reveal, for example, that patients in different groups do need to be treated differently. "Maybe you find out that one population is the one that's coming back (being readmitted) more often, or that demographically one population is more vulnerable, or there's some sort of cultural issue at home. Who knows?"

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2 comments on "AHA Takes On Racial Disparities in Care, Leadership"

Annette Bourbonniere (7/21/2011 at 2:43 PM)
This article shows that the AHA is still unaware of a serious gap – persons with disabilities. While it is important to address racial and ethnic disparities, this group needs to be reminded that persons with disabilities are the third largest market segment in the United States. At this time, physical access to healthcare is seriously lacking and attitudes toward persons with disabilities range from dismissive to overly solicitous, skipping respect and accommodations. Medical schools and nursing schools routinely discriminate against applicants with physical disabilities, making it even more difficult to recognize the importance of this demographic. One possible solution would be for the healthcare industry to stop looking at disability in the medical model and start looking at this population as a market segment. For purposes of patient care, employee safety and equal respect and opportunities for all, this needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. Annette Bourbonniere www.accessing-ability.com 401-846-1960 Fax: 401-846-1944 Twitter: @AccessInclude

Anonymous (7/19/2011 at 11:07 AM)
Great to see AHA take steps to address health equity with good interventions, which have long been overlooked. Would suggest adding critical steps to also change the leadership demographic. Multicultural leadership will be critical to strategize successful change as opposed to simple change for equity.




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