Can America's urban safety net systems be a solution to unequal treatment?

J Urban Health. 2008 Sep;85(5):766-78. doi: 10.1007/s11524-008-9296-5. Epub 2008 Jun 14.


Eliminating disparities in care for racial and ethnic minorities remains a challenge in achieving overall quality health care. One approach to resolving issues of inequity involves utilizing an urban safety-net system to address preventive and chronic care disparities. An analysis was undertaken at Denver Health (DH), an urban safety net which serves 150,000 patients annually, of which 78% are minorities and 50% uninsured. Medical charts for 4,795 randomly selected adult patients at ten DH-associated community health centers were reviewed between July 1999 and December 2001. Logistic regression was used to identify differences between racial/ethnic groups in cancer screening, blood pressure control, and diabetes management. No disparities in care were found, and in most instances, the quality of care met or exceeded available benchmarks, leading us to conclude that treatment in urban integrated safety net systems committed to caring for minority populations may represent one approach to reducing disparity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Female
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Health Status Disparities*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms
  • Pilot Projects
  • Social Support*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States
  • Urban Health*
  • Urban Population*