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Med Care. 1981 Dec;19(12 Suppl):28-56.

Equity in the distribution of quality of care.


This article examines whether the quality of health care services in the United States is equitably distributed across all groups in the population, especially groups defined by age, race, sex, and income characteristics. The framework within which the question is answered draws distinctions among structural, process, and outcome inequities. The available evidence suggests that all three types of inequity are present, at least to some extent. However, there are too many gaps and weaknesses in what is known about this issue to reveal systematic patterns or to support broad generalizations. The need for additional research on this issue is discussed, as are the policy implications of what is already known about equity in the distribution of quality of care.

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