New Report: Addressing U.S. Health Disparities Will Require Action on Multiple Fronts, Including Data, Training, Research, Financial Investments
Report by Healthcare Leadership Council, ZS Identifies Steps by Health Sectors, Government to Achieve Greater Health Equity
WASHINGTON – A report issued by an alliance of leading companies that span the breadth of the healthcare industry has identified multiple structural barriers in both the private and public sectors that contribute to existing health disparities and has offered recommendations for both industry and government that can help achieve broader health equity in the United States.
The report, Addressing Health Equity: Practical Solutions to Address Variations in Care, is a collaboration between the Healthcare Leadership Council (HLC), comprised of health industry leaders from all sectors, and ZS, a global management consulting and technology firm. Research for the report included in-depth interviews by ZS personnel with over 35 HLC member companies, analysis of public and patient-level data, a comprehensive literature review, and a workshop with HLC members.
“We view this less as a report than we do an action plan,” said HLC president Mary R. Grealy. “It’s widely known that we face a serious health equity challenge in the United States, but it can’t be successfully and sustainably addressed with a piecemeal approach or without fully understanding the barriers standing in the way of progress. Our member companies, who have already been investing time and resources to advance health equity, are committed to working with the findings and recommendations in this report to address the pervasive inequities in our healthcare system that have existed for far too long.”
Among the health equity challenges highlighted in the report:
- There is a lack of standardization regarding data collection, data sharing and outcome measures that confound insights into health disparities and that inhibit collaboration across organizations and sectors.
- The healthcare system provides insufficient training and incentives for individuals and organizations to adopt behaviors that bolster health equity. For example, at an individual level, there is ambiguity on how to collect data from patients and, at a system level, there is minimal reimbursement to providers for nonclinical interventions.
- Certain populations and afflictions are insufficiently represented in clinical research and development and are, thus, less likely to benefit from research investments.
- There is a lack of sustainable funding for health equity endeavors, particularly for interventions developed with community-based organizations.
- Regulatory restrictions, such as Stark and anti-kickback laws, limit equity-focused partnerships due to the risk of uneven value transfer between organizations.
Ms. Grealy said, “There is no single answer that will bring about the state of health equity we all seek, and there are social determinants of health outside of the healthcare system proper that have a significant impact on health disparities, but the stakeholders within all sectors of the healthcare industry recognize that there are systemic barriers we can and must begin knocking down. We have the blueprint, we have the commitment, and there most certainly will be action.”
For Immediate Release October 4, 2022
Contact: Kelly Fernandez 202-449 3452