Many of Medicaid’s 52 million beneficiaries are members of racial and ethnic subgroups, and over 60 percent of them are enrolled in managed care. By virtue of the diverse populations enrolled, Medicaid health plans are uniquely positioned to identify and address disparities in health care utilization and outcomes.

This toolkit details the experiences of a collaborative workgroup of Medicaid managed care organizations, Improving Health Care Quality for Racially and Ethnically Diverse Populations. The workgroup was directed by CHCS and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Commonwealth Fund. From 2004 to 2006, 10 Medicaid health plans and one state primary care case management program worked together to develop new ways to identify members of racial and ethnic subgroups in their enrolled populations, to measure the gaps in their care, and to explore ways to reduce disparities and improve overall health care quality.

The workgroup implemented innovative strategies to identify and address disparities in three areas: birth outcomes and immunizations, asthma care, and diabetes care. The toolkit provides an overview of the kinds of problems workgroup members identified, their strategies for addressing barriers to care specific to racial and ethnic minorities, and the results of their efforts.