CMS releases quality data showing racial, ethnic and gender differences in Medicare Advantage

health care during National Minority Health Month

In recognition of National Minority Health Month, the Centers for Medicare &
Medicaid Services, Office of Minority Health (CMS OMH) released a pair of reports
detailing the quality of care received by people enrolled in Medicare Advantage
(MA). One report compares quality of care for women and men while the other report
looks at racial and ethnic differences in health care experiences and clinical care,
among women and men. Each April, in recognition of National Minority Health Month,
CMS plans to make additional reports available online on the CMS OMH website.

“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 Dr. Cara James, Director of the CMS Office of
Minority Health.

The first report focusing on gender revealed sizable differences in quality of
treatment for certain conditions among MA beneficiaries. In particular, women
received better treatment for chronic lung disease and rheumatoid arthritis and were
more likely than men to receive proper follow-up care after being hospitalized for a
mental health disorder. In contrast, women were less likely than men to receive
timely treatment for alcohol or drug dependence, and they were more likely to be
dispensed medications that are potentially harmful to people with certain medical
conditions such as dementia.

The second report on racial and ethnic group comparisons separated by gender, is a
follow-up to a November 2016 report released by CMS Office of Minority Health which
presented racial and ethnic group comparisons without stratifying by gender. The
report released today shows that disparities between Black and White MA
beneficiaries in rates of colorectal cancer screening, treatment for chronic lung
disease and acute myocardial infarction, and management of rheumatoid arthritis were
larger for men than for women.

Healthcare professionals, organizations, researchers and hospital leaders can
utilize today’s reports along with other CMS tools and resources to help raise
awareness on health disparities and develop interventions for racially and
ethnically diverse Medicare beneficiaries.

The reports were prepared in collaboration with the RAND Corporation, and are based
on an analysis of two sources of information scores received in 2014-2015 and may be
used by plans to improve health care quality and accountability for different racial
and ethnic groups by gender at the national level.

The first source is the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS).
HEDIS collects information from medical records and administrative data on the
technical quality of care that Medicare beneficiaries receive for a variety of
medical issues, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and chronic lung
disease. The second source of information is the Medicare Consumer Assessment of
Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) Survey, which is conducted annually by CMS
and focuses on the health care experiences of Medicare beneficiaries across the

The information provided by these reports are not used to evaluate care through the
Part C and D Star Ratings program and are not used for payment purposes.

The CMS Office of Minority Health welcomes your participation in promoting health
observances throughout the year to raise awareness about health issues affecting
people across our nation. Share our resources on today’s reports, prevention, health
equity, and research about health disparities.