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Issue Brief
May 2014

Reforming the Way Health Care Is Delivered Can Reduce Health Care Disparities

By:
Sanjay Kishore,
Caitlin Morris

Although the Affordable Care Act now offers individuals greatly expanded access to health coverage, simply having an insurance card does not guarantee access to high-quality health care. In fact, for communities of color and other vulnerable populations, the quality of health care that they receive is not the same as that of other populations.

Our uneven system of health care has produced these inequities in access to high-quality care (and the resulting health outcomes), known as health disparities. Fortunately, there are new approaches for how providers can deliver better health care to vulnerable populations. Our brief "Reforming the Way Health Care Is Delivered Can Reduce Health Care Disparities" (PDF) examines four models of how health care delivery can be improved, and it shows how these models can reduce the disparities that exist for racial and ethnic minorities, low-income consumers, and people who live in underserved areas.

The health care delivery models that we examine are: 

  • community health workers
  • telemedicine 
  • “hot-spotting” high utilizers
  • patient-centered medical homes