Pressure Mounts on MA Plans to Address Racial Disparities

As protests erupt across the U.S. calling for racial justice and police reforms, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to bring to light many of the racial disparities in health care, putting pressure on policymakers and the industry to take a hard look at health and access inequities. Meanwhile, a new report from CMS indicates that racial disparities are widening in Medicare Advantage, and experts suggest one way for plans to address those would to be to make immediate investments in their provider networks.

“You see some very consistent themes in that report around inadequate provider networks in vulnerable minority communities. And those findings are only going to worsen in the middle of this pandemic when you consider that providers as small businesses are extremely vulnerable because of fluctuations in their revenues,” says John Gorman, chairman and CEO of Nightingale Partners LLC, the first Opportunity Zone fund dedicated to making major investments in social determinants of health with MA and Medicaid plans.

© 2021 MMIT

Lauren Flynn Kelly Managing Editor, Radar on Medicare Advantage

Lauren has been covering health business issues, including drug benefits and specialty pharmacy, for more than a decade. She served as editor of Drug Benefit News (the predecessor to Radar on Drug Benefits) from 2004 to 2005 and again from 2011 to 2016, and now manages Radar on Medicare Advantage. Lauren graduated from Vassar College with a B.A. in English.

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