CMS Report Highlights Differences in Care by Patient Demographics

Women received better care for chronic lung disease and rheumatoid arthritis than men.

Last week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released 2 new reports regarding the quality of care received by Medicare Advantage beneficiaries. The reports highlight data that show racial, ethnic, and gender differences in care received by beneficiaries, in recognition of National Minority Health Month.

The first report highlights care received by women and men, while the second focuses on racial and ethnic differences in healthcare among the genders.

Each April, the CMS plans to make additional reports regarding quality of care received by different groups on the CMS Office of Minority Health (OMH) website in observance of the National Minority Health Month, according to a press release.

Both reports included data from 2014 and 2015 from 2 sources. The Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information set was used to gather information from medical records and administrative data on quality of care for beneficiaries. The Medicare Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Survey was used to gather healthcare experiences of beneficiaries.

The first report focuses on the quality of care received by women and men, and shows disparities in treatment for certain conditions. According to the report, women received more optimal treatment for chronic lung disease and rheumatoid arthritis compared with men. Additionally, women were more likely to receive proper care following a hospitalization for a mental health condition compared with men.

However, the report discovered that women were less likely to receive timely treatment for alcohol or drug misuse disorder compared with men, according to the CMS. Compared with men, women were more likely to be prescribed drugs that may be harmful when used in individuals with specific conditions, such as dementia.

The second report compared racial and ethnic groups separated by gender. This study is a follow-up to a previous report released in November 2016, which examined disparities among different racial and ethnic groups without stratifying by gender.

The new report revealed significant disparities between black and white male beneficiaries in colorectal cancer screening, treatment for lung diseases, and acute myocardial infarction, compared with women, according to the CMS. Black and white men were also found to have disparities for the management of rheumatoid arthritis compared with men.

The CMS advises that healthcare professionals, organizations, researchers, and hospitals use the data from the 2 reports, in addition to CMS tools and resources, to increase awareness about health disparities. These individuals should also use the new data to create innovative interventions for diverse beneficiaries who may have varying needs, according to the release.

“This is the first time that CMS has released Medicare Advantage data on racial and ethnic disparities in care separately for women and men. Showing the data this way helps us to understand the intersection between a person’s race, ethnicity, and gender and their health care,” said Cara James, MD, director of the CMS OMH.