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AG Bonta Investigates Bias in Healthcare Algorithms

  • California AG Rob Bonta sent letters to hospital CEOs across the state requesting information about how healthcare facilities and providers are addressing possible racial and ethnic disparities in commercial healthcare decision-making tools and algorithms.
  • In a sample letter, AG Bonta claimed that decision-making tools and commercial algorithms can perpetuate unfair bias in a number of ways, which can systemically afford increased health care access to white patients relative to patients with comparable needs who are Black, Latino, or members of another historically disadvantaged group. AG Bonta requested that the hospitals provide a list of decision-making tools, products, software systems or algorithms currently in use for clinical decision-making support, an explanation of the purposes for which these tools are used and how they inform decisions, as well as any policies, procedures, trainings, or protocols that apply to the use of these tools in the hospital’s facilities and the identity of any persons charged with evaluating the purpose and use of these tools and ensuring they do not introduce bias.
  • AG Bonta’s inquiry comes after D.C. AG Karl Racine sponsored first-in-the-nation legislation that also seeks to address potential biases in algorithmic decision-making, as we previously reported here.