Health Plans Take Lead on Reducing Racial, Ethnic Disparities in Access to Quality Care

Health plans convened yesterday in Washington, D.C. to collaborate on innovative ways to reduce health care disparities among diverse racial and ethnic groups.

The National Health Plan Collaborative (NHPC) Leadership Roundtable, coordinated by America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), brings together 17 major health plans for a full day of discussions focused on the persistence of health disparities in America today.

For more than 20 years, research has documented continual gaps in health care quality that disproportionately affect Americans from specific racial and ethnic backgrounds.  In 2002, the Institute of Medicine specifically identified the need for health insurance companies to collect, report and monitor patient care data to build a foundation for solutions to the problem of racial and ethnic disparities in care.  NHPC is committed to working with a cross-section of America’s public and private sectors to increase quality, affordable care for all Americans.

The NHPC Leadership Roundtable brings together experts from across the industry to discuss ways to reduce specific disparities in care.  The roundtable is broken into four sessions: data collection and reporting, the development of appropriate communications materials, how to effectively utilize social media platforms and the development of quality improvement programs that are culturally and linguistically appropriate. 

By 2050, racial and ethnic minorities will represent 50 percent of the American population.  This demographic shift will make it even more important to focus on strategies for delivering high-quality care to diverse groups.  Over the years, AHIP has also developed a range of comprehensive policy proposals to provide all Americans with greater access to high-quality, affordable health care coverage.

These initiatives focus on:

  • The collection of data on race, ethnicity, and primary language; 
  • Cultural competency training as a foundation to improve care; 
  • Model designs for quality improvement activities to reduce disparities; and 
  • Communication approaches that address the cultural diversity of America’s growing racial and ethnic population.

To learn more about these efforts, visit www.ahip.org/disparities

To learn more about NHPC and how health plans are working to make quality care more accessible for all Americans, visit http://www.nationalhealthplancollaborative.org/.

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