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New Medicare Mapping Disparities Tool

April 19, 2016 by Experian Health

On March 17th, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of Minority Health (CMS OMH) released a new interactive map to increase understanding of geographic disparities in chronic disease among Medicare beneficiaries. The Mapping Medicare Disparities (MMD) Tool identifies disparities in health outcomes, utilization, and spending by race and ethnicity and geographic location.

Understanding geographic differences in disparities is important to informing policy decisions and efficiently targeting populations and geographies for interventions.

“Our commitment to health equity begins with properly measuring the care people get and having an honest dialogue on how and where we need to improve,” said CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt. “Today’s tool aims to make it harder for disparities to go unaddressed.”

Racial and ethnic minorities experience disproportionately high rates of chronic diseases, and are more likely to experience difficulty accessing high quality of care than other individuals. The identification of areas with large differences in the proportions of Medicare beneficiaries with chronic diseases is an important step for informing and planning health equity activities and initiatives. The Mapping Medicare Disparities Tool features:

A dynamic interface with data on the prevalence of 18 chronic conditions, end stage renal disease, or a disability; Medicare spending, hospital and emergency department (ED) utilization, preventable hospitalizations, readmissions, and mortality rates.

The ability to sort by state or county of residence, sex, age, dual-eligibility for Medicare and Medicaid, and race and ethnicity.

Built-in benchmarking features to investigate disparities within counties and across racial and ethnic groups, and within racial and ethnic groups across counties.

“It’s not enough to improve average health care quality in the U.S.,” said CMS OMH Director Cara James.  “As the CMS Equity Plan lays out, we must identify gaps in quality of care at all levels of the health care system to address disparities. We are excited to share this new tool, which allows us to pinpoint disparities in health care outcomes by population and condition.”

See the Medicare Mapping Disparities Tool here: https://www.cms.gov/About-CMS/Agency-Information/OMH/OMH-Mapping-Medicare-Disparities.html

The Medicare Mapping Disparities Tool FAQ’s are here:https://www.cms.gov/About-CMS/Agency-Information/OMH/Downloads/MMDT-FAQs.pdf

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