Disparities in Access to Preventive Health Screenings Exist for Minorities, Low-Income, Uninsured U.S. Residents, AHRQ Report Finds
Millions of U.S. residents do not receive necessary preventive care, according to two reports released on Thursday by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the AP/Arizona Daily Star reports. According to the fourth annual national health care quality and disparities reports, although the quality of the health care system continues to improve overall, lower-income and minority residents continue to receive a lower quality of care than other residents. In addition, the reports found that uninsured residents received the lowest quality of care and had the most problems with access. The reports also found that many residents overall -- with the majority low income, minority or uninsured -- do not receive necessary examinations, tests and advice from physicians that can prevent or limit the progression of asthma, cancer, diabetes and obesity. Physicians are less likely to advise obese black and Mexican-American residents than white residents that they are overweight, the reports found. In addition, the reports found that black residents with asthma are less likely than other residents to receive medications for their conditions and that black and Asian residents receive colon cancer tests at a lower rate than white residents. AHRQ Director Carolyn Clancy said, "It's encouraging to learn that overall quality continues to improve," adding, "At the same time, the message is clear: Much more can be done to prevent illness from occurring or progressing." Andrea Kabcenell, an executive director for the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, said, "If we can show health care organizations how to do the things that reduce disparities, they will jump on them. Nobody wants these disparities" (AP/Arizona Daily Star, 1/12).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.