HHS Releases Original Version of Report on U.S. Health Disparities
HHS on Monday released the original version of a report on racial health disparities following complaints that an edited version downplayed serious issues, the Washington Post reports. In an introductory letter to the report, posted on the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Web site, AHRQ Director Carolyn Clancy said that the report was released "to avoid any further question" about previous changes (Washington Post, 2/24). The report, requested by Congress to track health care quality and differences in use of services, in part found that African-American and low-income U.S. residents have a higher mortality rate for cancer than the general population because they are less likely to receive tests for certain forms of the disease and other preventive services. The report also cited a number of other health care disparities. In a letter to HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson, eight Democratic lawmakers in January said that HHS "watered down" the report, alleging that the final version included revisions that "alter the report's meaning, undermine efforts to address disparities and fit a pattern of the manipulation of science by the Bush administration" (California Healthline, 2/23). The report is available online. Clancy's letter is also available online.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.