Blog: National Partnership for Action
Collecting the Data We Need to Reduce Health Disparities
Posted on 6/29/2011 by Garth N. Graham M.D., M.P.H
The Obama Administration is committed to promoting the health and well-being of all Americans, yet when we don’t have accurate information about who we serve, it is difficult to meet the unique needs of diverse communities. Many racial and ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities, and other underserved populations face unique health challenges, have reduced access to health care and insurance, and often pay the price with poorer health throughout their lives. Over the past decade, little progress has been made in reducing these disparities. According to the Institute of Medicine, inadequate data on race, ethnicity, and language lowers the likelihood of effective actions to address health disparities.
But, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, section 4302 invests in the implementation of a new health data collection and analysis strategy. It requires all national federal data collection efforts to collect data on:
HHS also announced a new plan to collect data related to health of LGBT populations. We will integrate questions on sexual orientation into national data collection efforts by 2013 and begin the process to collect information on gender identity. This is a critical step toward development of a government-wide standard for LGBT data collection. By establishing consistent methods for collecting and reporting health data, we will be able to better understand the causes of health problems in underserved populations.
HHS continues to make significant progress toward improving the health of underserved populations. By collecting relevant data in a standardized format, we will be able to continue reducing the health disparities in many underserved communities.
The public may submit comments for the draft minority data collection standards at www.regulations.gov under docket number HHS-OMH-2011-0013. Public comments will be accepted until August 1.
Information is also available here.
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The NPA works to achieve health equity -- the highest level of health for all people. This blog is a venue for professionals from all fields and sectors to share their thoughts on pressing issues, news and events pertaining to health equity. Follow and participate in this candid discussion.
About the Author
Dr. Garth N. Graham, MD, MPH, FACP was the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health in the Office of Minority Health at the Department of Health and Human Services until November 11, 2011. The Office of Minority Health develops and coordinates Federal health policy that addresses minority health concerns and ensures that Federal, State and local health programs take into account the needs of disadvantaged, racial and ethnic populations.
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