Academic journal article Frontiers of Health Services Management

Editorial

Academic journal article Frontiers of Health Services Management

Editorial

Article excerpt

INEQUITIES IN CARE have a long history in the United States, as Bruce Siegel, MD, notes in his commentary: "The roots of disparities in the US healthcare system run deep." While the Affordable Care Act offers the opportunity to reduce these disparities, no quick fix can overcome that long history. In the face of that challenge, two key drivers have brought a new urgency to the issue of disparities of care in our healthcare delivery system. First, the devastating physical and societal impact of care inequity, particularly for the vulnerable among us, is well documented. Moral and societal demands call for real change. Second, reimbursement is increasingly dependent on quality performance, defined in part by equal access and quality of care for all populations. Feature author Joseph R. Betancourt, MD, puts it this way: "Improving quality, addressing disparities, and achieving equity are no longer just the right things to do-they also are the smart things to do, given the new set of financial structures developed to drive quality and value." Commentator Thomas LaVeist, PhD, echoes the point: "We must address disparities because they are inconsistent with the values of our society and because addressing them is imperative to the financial viability of healthcare organizations and the economic competitiveness of the nation."

Morality, ethics, and social justice should long ago have been enough to ensure that the issue of care equity is no longer a topic of discussion. Now, performance and community health metrics affect reimbursement and, in turn, financial sustainability, making the elimination of disparities an imperative demanding thoughtful and consistent action. …

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