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New online Medicare tool shows disparity of care for chronic disease

Identifies disparities in outcomes, utilization, spending by race, ethnicity, geography

March 17, 2017 - If you ever wondered how your county ranks in health care of chronic diseases among Medicare patients, you can now find the answers by using a new interactive map released online today by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of Minority Health (CMS OMH).


The purpose is 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.”

The MMD Tool was developed in collaboration with KPMG LLP and NORC at the University of Chicago as part of the CMS Equity Plan for Improving Quality in Medicare.  The plan provides a framework for advancing health equity by improving the quality of care provided to minority and other underserved Medicare beneficiaries.  MMD Tool

  Access the MMD tool

  MMD Tool Overview

  MMD Tool Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  Quick Start Guide

  MMD Tool Technical Documentation.

  Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Office of Minority Health (OMH) was established as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and  works to eliminate health disparities and improve the health of all minority populations, including racial and ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, members of the LGBT community, and rural populations.

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