2013 National Healthcare Disparities Report

Highlights From the 2013 National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Reports

Each year since 2003, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has reported on progress and opportunities for improving health care quality and reducing health care disparities. As mandated by the U.S. Congress, the National Healthcare Quality Report (NHQR) focuses on “national trends in the quality of health care provided to the American people” (42 U.S.C. 299b-2(b)(2)). The National Healthcare Disparities Report (NHDR) focuses on “prevailing disparities in health care delivery as it relates to racial factors and socioeconomic factors in priority populations” (42 U.S.C. 299a-1(a)(6)).

As in previous years, the 2013 NHQR and NHDR track more than 200 health care process, outcome, and access measures, covering a wide variety of conditions and settings. Data years vary across measures; most trend analyses include data points from 2000-2002 to 2010-2011. It is important to note that the reports provide a snapshot of health care prior to implementation of most of the health insurance expansions and consumer protections included in the Affordable Care Act and serve as a baseline against which to track progress in upcoming years. Each year, the reports emphasize one priority population; this year’s reports provide expanded analyses of people with disabilities, including children with special health care needs and adults with multiple chronic conditions.

These Highlights summarize data gathered for the reports to address three key questions:

◆ What is the status of health care quality, access, and disparities in the United States?

◆ How have health care quality, access, and disparities changed over time?

◆ Where are health care quality, access, and disparities improving? And where are they getting worse?

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