Five Resources to Help Reduce Health Disparities Among Vulnerable Populations

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Map courtesy of
Map courtesy of

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Office of Minority Health’s (OMH) vision is to eliminate disparities in health care quality and access and to help all CMS beneficiaries achieve their highest level of health. The office’s target populations include racial and ethnic minorities, people with disabilities and sexual and gender minorities, and those living in rural areas. CMS OMH is one of eight offices of minority health within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

CMS OMH hosted a webinar in November 2016 to highlight resources developed in the first year of the CMS Equity Plan for Improving Quality in Medicare, launched in September 2015. The CMS Equity Plan for Medicare aims to help health care practitioners take action to reduce disparities among minority populations.

1Mapping Medicare Disparities Tool

The CMS OMH Mapping Medicare Disparities tool, was designed with health care practitioners in mind to show areas of the country where there are actionable opportunities to improve health disparities. The tool maps health statistics in counties across the United States according to race, age, sex and health conditions, among others. 

2Online Training

Health care professionals can utilize free training resources on the CMS OMH website, including those from the Medicare Learning Network, that can help improve their understanding of how to collect, measure and, ultimately, reduce disparities in health care outcomes. 

3Health Equity Blog

The CMS OMH Health Equity blog features success stories and best practices for reducing health disparities that can be leveraged by providers and caregivers. Providers can also refer to CMS OMH’s Equity Plan for Medicare information on how CMS and OMH are using data and available resources to ensure care is equitable.

4Health Insurance Enrollment Toolkit

The From Coverage to Care Enrollment Toolkit is aimed at caregivers, their community partners and others who want to help enroll individuals for health insurance coverage. The toolkit also provides helpful information about ongoing treatment and prescription drug medications, as well as other resources for limited English-proficient individuals. 

5Health Equity Technical Assistance

CMS OMH offers technical assistance to providers to improve health care delivery among vulnerable populations. CMS OMH provides a series of three consultations with care practices to identify needs and develop short- and long-term strategies to reduce health disparities. To receive more information, email CMS OMH personnel at Healthequityta@​cms.​hhs.​gov.

For more information on reducing health disparities, visit the CMS Office of Minority Health website.