CHA News

Attorney General Bonta Launches Inquiry into Racial and Ethnic Bias in Health Care Algorithms

On Aug. 31, California Attorney General Rob Bonta sent letters to 30 hospital CEOs across the state requesting information about how health care facilities and other providers are identifying and addressing racial and ethnic disparities in health care algorithms.  

The request for information is the first step in a Department of Justice inquiry into whether commercial health care algorithms have discriminatory impacts based on race and ethnicity and contribute to racially biased health care treatment and outcomes. In the letter the attorney general requests: 

  • A list of all commercially available or purchased decision-making tools, products, software systems, or algorithmic methodologies currently in use that assist or contribute to the performance of any of the following functions:   
    • Clinical decision support, including clinical risk prediction, screening, diagnosis, prioritization, and triage 
    • Population health management, care management, and utilization management 
    • Operational optimization, e.g., office or operating room scheduling 
    • Payment management, including risk assessment and classification, billing and coding practices, prior authorization, and approvals 
  • The purposes for which these tools are currently used, how these tools inform decisions, and any policies, procedures, training, or protocols that apply to use of these tools 
  • The name or contact information of the person(s) responsible for evaluating the purpose and use of these tools and ensuring that they do not have a disparate impact based on race or other protected characteristics  

CHA plans to convene recipients of the attorney general’s letter to learn more about this issue. If your hospital received the letter, please notify Lois Richardson at [email protected].