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A New Strategy to Combat Racial Inequality in American Health Care Delivery

By: Dayna Bowen Matthew
Published: August 2006

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance. Title VI applies both to intentional discrimination and to the unintentional, disparate impact of superficially neutral policies and practices. Since a 2001 Supreme Court decision, however, charges of disparate impact can be brought only by federal agencies.

This article provides an overview of Title VI and its application to the health care industry. The author advances a new strategy that would reestablish a private individual's right to bring a claim of disparate impact by alleging that civil rights violators have defrauded the U.S. government in violation of the Civil False Claims Act.

NASI's Study Panel on Medicare and Racial and Ethnic Disparities commissioned the paper with financial support from the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.. It was published in the DePaul Journal of Health Care Law and is posted here by permission.