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Medicare AI Will Infer Race to Close Health Equity Gap

By Bloomberg Law

August 12, 2021

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The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) plans to use artificial intelligence algorithms to determine a patient's race as a means of improving health care equity. The algorithms will be used when a patient's race is not fully disclosed on hospital forms. Hospitals will have access to the de-identified data.

CMS has deemed the algorithms to be accurate but acknowledged a "small risk of unintentionally introducing measurement bias," adding that the algorithms are "notably less accurate" for patients identifying as "American Indian/Alaskan Native or multiracial."

One algorithm will use self-reported patient information like name and address, along with their neighborhood's racial and ethnic demographics, to predict the likelihood they belong to a certain racial or ethnic group. A second will use the same data as well as the patient's language preference to "reclassify some beneficiaries as Hispanic or Asian/Pacific Islander," CMS said.

From Bloomberg Law
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