Address correspondence to Benjamin Lê Cook, Ph.D., M.P.H., Research Associate, Center for Multicultural Mental Health Research, Instructor, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, 120 Beacon St., 4th Floor, Somerville, MA 02143; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thomas G. McGuire, Ph.D., Professor of Health Economics, is with the Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA. Kari Lock, A.M., is with the Department of Statistics, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. Alan M. Zaslavsky, Ph.D., Professor of Health Care Policy (Statistics), is with the Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.
Comparing Methods of Racial and Ethnic Disparities Measurement across Different Settings of Mental Health Care
Article first published online: 10 MAR 2010
© Health Research and Educational Trust
Health Services Research
Volume 45, Issue 3, pages 825–847, June 2010
How to Cite
Lê Cook, B., McGuire, T. G., Lock, K. and Zaslavsky, A. M. (2010), Comparing Methods of Racial and Ethnic Disparities Measurement across Different Settings of Mental Health Care. Health Services Research, 45: 825–847. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-6773.2010.01100.x
- Issue published online: 3 MAY 2010
- Article first published online: 10 MAR 2010
- Access/demand/utilization of services;
- determinants of health/population health/socioeconomic causes of health;
- mental health;
- racial/ethnic differences in health and health care
Introduction. The ability to track improvement against racial/ethnic disparities in mental health care is hindered by the varying methods and disparity definitions used in previous research.
Data. Nationally representative sample of whites, blacks, and Latinos from the 2002 to 2006 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. Dependent variables are total, outpatient, and prescription drug mental health care expenditure.
Methods. Rank- and propensity score-based methods concordant with the Institute of Medicine (IOM) definition of health care disparities were compared with commonly used disparities methods. To implement the IOM definition, we modeled expenditures using a two-part GLM, adjusted distributions of need variables, and predicted expenditures for each racial/ethnic group.
Findings. Racial/ethnic disparities were significant for all expenditure measures. Disparity estimates from the IOM-concordant methods were similar to one another but greater than a method using the residual effect of race/ethnicity. Black–white and Latino–white disparities were found for any expenditure in each category and Latino–white disparities were significant in expenditure conditional on use.
Conclusions. Findings of disparities in access among blacks and disparities in access and expenditures after initiation among Latinos suggest the need for continued policy efforts targeting disparities reduction. In these data, the propensity score-based method and the rank-and-replace method were precise and adequate methods of implementing the IOM definition of disparity.