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CPEHN in the News: Collecting Data to Address Disparities

CPEHN in the News: Collecting Data to Address Disparities

In order to adequately address health disparities, it is important to have as much information as possible on where inequities exist and what populations are most impacted. One of the best ways to address disparities is through collection of disaggregated data on race, ethnicity, and language spoken. One of the key aspects of CPEHN’s policy agenda is enhancing the collection and use of this data to develop more detailed and targeted strategies for reducing disparities.

This week, the California Health Report looked at how data collection can be used to reduce disparities experienced by children in the Medi-Cal program. In particular, the story focused on how children’s health advocates are pushing for Medi-Cal to report on more quality measures besides the minimum required:

The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which regulates the Medi-Cal program, has a list of 24 child health indicators this year. States are required to report on the quality of their low-income health programs, but filing data on the 24 indicators is optional…

California reported on 13 of the indicators in April and expects to report on the same ones when it files next year’s report, which will use 2015 data, said DHCS spokeswoman Carol Sloan.

Advocates argue that California should take the lead in reporting more quality measures because it has the largest Medicaid population in the country.

CPEHN’s Cary Sanders is featured in the story and discusses how reporting on more quality measures in Medi-Cal would help inform efforts to reduce disparities.

Collecting more data will allow the state to work on reducing disparities among certain populations, said Cary Sanders, director of policy analysis at the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network.

“We think it’s really important to include data that looks at target areas with known racial and ethnic disparities,” she said…

More than half of Medi-Cal enrollees are people of color, and in California they tend to experience higher rates of chronic diseases and have poorer health outcomes than the general population, Sanders said…

“If we’re going to improve health outcomes, the issue of health disparities has to be front and center,” Sanders said. “You can incorporate certain measures that will improve quality of care, but then it becomes a question of the quality of care for whom?”

Keep an eye on our blog for more updates on our efforts to improve collection of disaggregated data in hopes of reducing health disparities. You can also access the Data and Resources section on our website for more information on the health of California’s communities of color.

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