Health Care Disparities
Addressing health and health care disparities requires cooperation across the health care system, from individuals, health care providers, hospitals and health centers, health benefit plans, and government agencies. There is growing evidence to suggest that improving data collection strategies across the health care system by incorporating key data, particularly data on race, ethnicity and language, is likely to have a beneficial effect on reducing health care disparities and improving overall health care quality.
The Maryland Health Care Commission developed and implemented the Maryland Race/Ethnicity, Language, Interpreters, and Cultural Competency Assessment (RELICC™), a quality measurement tool, to standardize collection and reporting of health plan quality data related to disparity issues. Health plans can use this tool to assist in identifying and ultimately eliminating health disparities. A major objective of RELICC™ is to determine if health plans gather appropriate information of their members and provider network in order to ensure members are engaged and that culturally sensitive and appropriate care is delivered. To learn more about different RELICC™ topics, please select one of the topics to the right.
To learn more about Maryland demographics related to race, ethnicity and language, please click below.
Maryland ranks nineteenth in terms of population, with approximately 6.0 million people. Over 80.0% of State residents live within the Baltimore and National Capital regions. The remaining regions account for 17.7% of State residents. The five regions in Maryland are comprised of the following 24 jurisdictions, including 23 counties and Baltimore City:
Western Maryland – Garrett, Allegany and Washington counties
Southern Maryland – Calvert, Charles and Saint Mary’s counties
Eastern Shore – Cecil, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Caroline, Talbot, Dorchester, Wicomico, Worcester, and Somerset counties
National Capital – Frederick, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties
Baltimore – Carroll, Howard, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, and Harford counties and Baltimore City
Four of Maryland’s jurisdictions have a majority minority population: Baltimore City and Montgomery, Prince George’s and Charles counties.
Racial minorities comprise 47.4% of the State’s population compared to 37.9% nationally. African Americans are the largest racial minority in Maryland comprising 29.3% of the State’s population; whereas Hispanics account for 9.3% followed by Asians at 6.3%.
Maryland remains one of the most diverse states in the nation, encompassing people from approximately 160 different countries speaking over 100 languages. For example, 14.9% of Maryland residents are foreign born compared to 13.3% at the national level. Among the states, Maryland has the ninth highest percentage of residents who are foreign born.