A new tool released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) allows users to better understand geographic disparities among Medicare beneficiaries with chronic health conditions.

The Mapping Medicare Disparities Tool — developed at association member University of Chicago — shows disparities in health outcomes, health care use, and health care spending. The tool includes data on

  • 18 chronic conditions, end-stage renal disease, and disabilities;
  • hospital and emergency department use;
  • Medicare spending;
  • mortality rates;
  • preventable hospitalizations; and
  • readmissions.

Users can sort data by patients’ state or county of residence, age, dual eligibility status, and geographic location. The mapping tool also includes built-in benchmarking features that allow users to examine disparities within counties or racial and ethnic groups.

America’s Essential Hospitals is a leading voice in the call for risk adjustment based on socioeconomic status for the Medicare Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP). The association supports proper risk adjustment with a growing body of evidence that socioeconomic factors affect health and health care outcomes, and that public reporting programs, such as the HRRP, disproportionately penalize hospitals caring for a high volume of vulnerable patients.

Contact Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.