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Addressing Health Care Disparities
State Action Steps
During the workshop, the State teams discussed the steps they would like to take to build upon the momentum expected to be generated by the release of the National Healthcare Disparities Report and improve their State's efforts to eliminate racial and ethnic health care disparities. Among the specific actions that the different teams suggested were the following:
- Ensure that the NHDR receives the attention that it needs to garner interest among key players at the State level, States can:
- Announce the release and the importance of the report in the local media.
- Announce the release of the report at major State symposiums, workshops and other meetings.
- Inform key persons in State government about the report to ensure they understand what guidance it can provide on health care disparities.
- Identify and include key stakeholders in meetings and planning activities that address health care disparities. These stakeholders include, but are not limited to representatives from: Offices of Minority Health, primary health care associations, Departments of Health, public health associations, physician trade associations, etc.
- Engage the business community by arranging meetings to discuss the economic impact of health care disparities in order to build a business case for addressing them.
- Identify data currently available and use it to:
- Show where disparities exist.
- Plan and evaluate interventions.
- Identify gaps where more or new data are needed.
- Review State's capacity to address health care disparities by conducting an inventory of what is currently being done to address the issue and updating or creating State health reports that would include information on health care disparities.
- Make full use of States' purchasing power to develop an overall strategy that would address health care disparities. Suggested strategies included the addition of language to RFPs and contracts that would require health plans to:
- Provide language assistance to persons with limited english proficiency.
- Address health disparities through quality improvement efforts.
Current as of September 2003
Addressing Health Care Disparities. Workshop Brief, User Liaison Program, September 15-17, 2003. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/ulp/addispar/addisp.htm