Minnesota sees significant variation in health care quality and outcomes by race, ethnicity, language, and country of origin.

A new report from MN Community Measurement (MNCM) documents continued wide disparities in health care quality and outcomes by race, ethnicity, language, and country of origin. The report analyzes data collected by MNCM in 2020 reflecting care provided in 2019 and will serve as a baseline for understanding how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected pre-existing disparities in care.

As an independent nonprofit dedicated to empowering health care decision makers with meaningful data, MNCM is a statewide resource for timely, comparable information on health care costs and quality.

While Minnesota consistently ranks as one of the healthiest states in the nation, there continues to be significant variation in health care outcomes across and within certain communities. MNCM’s collection of comprehensive, reliable data on health care quality by race, ethnicity, language, and country of origin is unique and among the most robust in the nation. While data are a first step in understanding and addressing disparities, data alone are not sufficient – as a society we must take action to address inequities, and MNCM works with its partners to make data actionable for driving improvement.

Key Findings:

  • In general, Indigenous/Native, Black, and Hispanic/Latinx patients have significantly lower rates of optimal care compared to the statewide average in most of the reported measures.
  • There is also variation in outcomes by preferred language and country of origin: for most measures, groups with a preferred language other than English have lower rates of optimal care than the statewide average. Similarly, it is often the case that patients born outside of the U.S. have lower rates of optimal care.
  • Within race categories, there is variation by language and country of origin. For example:
    • Black patients whose preferred language is English have lower rates of optimal diabetes care, optimal vascular care, and depression remission at six months compared to Black patients whose primary language is not English.
    • Asian patients whose preferred language is English have higher rates of colorectal cancer screening, optimal diabetes care, optimal asthma control for adults, and adolescent mental health screening compared to their counterparts whose preferred language is not English.
  • Similarly, there are differences within race categories by county of origin. For example, Black patients who were born in the United States have significantly lower rates of optimal care on most measures compared to Black patients born outside the U.S.

“On top of what we know to be large disparities in health outcomes, we know that the COVID-19 pandemic has hit communities of color particularly hard,” said Julie Sonier, MNCM President and CEO. “That makes it more urgent than ever to take action to address health disparities, using data to identify problems, craft solutions, and monitor progress over time.”

The report includes measures of statewide disparities for colorectal cancer screening, optimal diabetes care, optimal vascular care, optimal asthma control, mental health screening for adolescents, and outcomes of depression care for both adults and adolescents.

An appendix to the report presents results by medical group.

About MN Community Measurement

MN Community Measurement is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering health care decision makers with meaningful data to drive improvement. A trusted source of health care data since 2005, MNCM works with doctors, hospitals, clinics, insurance companies, and state agencies to collect, analyze, and report health care data related to quality, cost, and patient experience. Learn more at www.mncm.org.