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National Healthcare Disparities Report, 2004

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Summary of Disparities

In the 2004 report, efforts to summarize disparities have been refined. In the Highlights and in Chapter 4, Priority Populations, a subset of measures for which comparable data are available for 2000 and 2001 are highlighted. This subset consists of 38 measures of effectiveness of health care and 31 measures of access to health care. Because mortality and health care utilization are strongly affected by factors other than health care, such as genetic predisposition, lifestyle, comorbid conditions, and environmental and social determinants, these measures are not included in the summary measures. Data sources are:

  • Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program
  • U.S. Renal Data System (USRDS)
  • Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS)
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) AIDS Surveillance System
  • National Vital Statistics System-Natality (NVSS-N)
  • National Immunization Survey (NIS)
  • National Health Interview Survey (NHIS)
  • National Hospital Discharge Survey (NHDS)

For each measure, racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups are compared with an appropriate comparison group; each group could receive care that is worse than, about the same as, or better than the comparison group. For each group, the percentages of measures for which the group received worse care, similar care, or better care were calculated. Note that data from the AIDS Surveillance System and NIS used in the summary measures are for 2000 and 2001, while data from these databases presented elsewhere in this report are for 2002.

Data on all measures were not available for all groups. Hence, summary measures should only be used to quantify differences between a specific group and its comparison group. Comparisons of different racial and ethnic minority groups (i.e., blacks vs. AI/ANs) would not be appropriate. Go to Table 1.2 and Table 1.3 for lists of measures available for each group and Appendix C for data on each measure for each group.



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