New Interactive Map Highlights Disparities in Medicare


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MMDT-Landing-Page-MapThe Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of Minority Health (CMS OMH) recently released an interactive map that illustrates disparities in chronic diseases geographically for Medicare beneficiaries.

The Mapping Medicare Disparities (MMD) Tool can identify disparities in health outcomes, utilization, and spending by race, ethnicity, and geographic location.

“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.”

Understanding the geographic differences in certain disparities is important for a number of reasons. This understanding helps to inform policy decisions and can allow efficient targeting for health interventions in specific populations or geographies.

Racial/ethnic minorities, such as Latinos, experience disproportionately high rates of certain chronic diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and obesity. These groups are more likely to experience difficulty accessing the quality of care that other individuals benefit from. Identifying the areas that have large differences in terms of Medicare beneficiaries and chronic diseases is important for planning health equity initiatives.

“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 features a dynamic interface with data on 18 chronic conditions, Medicare spending, hospital and emergency department (ED) utilization, preventable hospitalizations, re-admissions, and mortality rates. The Tool also has the ability to sort data by state and county, sex, age, race, and ethnicity.

To access the MMD tool, go here.

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