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Am J Manag Care. 2004 Sep;10 Spec No:SP5-11.

Healthcare disparities and models for change.

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Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA.


With Healthy People 2010 making the goal of eliminating health disparities a national priority, policymakers, researchers, medical centers, managed care organizations (MCOs), and advocacy organizations have been called on to move beyond the historic documentation of health disparities and proceed with an agenda to translate policy recommendations into practice. Working models that have successfully reduced health disparities in managed care settings were presented at the National Managed Health Care Congress Inaugural Forum on Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care on March 10-11, 2003, in Washington, DC. These models are being used by federal, state, and municipal governments, as well as private, commercial, and Medicaid MCOs. Successful models and programs at all levels reduce health disparities by forming partnerships based on common goals to provide care, to educate, and to rebuild healthcare systems. Municipal models work in collaboration with state and federal agencies to integrate patient care with technology. Several basic elements of MCOs help to reduce disparities through emphasis on preventive care, community and member health education, case management and disease management tracking, centralized data collection, and use of sophisticated technology to analyze data and coordinate services. At the community level, there are leveraged funds from the Health Resources and Services Administration's Bureau of Primary Health Care. Well-designed models provide seamless monitoring of patient care and outcomes by integrating human and information system resources.

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