HHS Outlines Five Steps for Reducing Healthcare Disparities

The Department of Health and Human Services has outlined goals, strategies and actions it will take to reduce health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities.ξξξ

The define a health disparity as a particular type of health difference that is closely linked with social, economic, and/or environmental disadvantage. Racial and ethnic minorities still lag behind in many health outcome measures. They are less likely to get the preventive care they need to stay healthy, more likely to suffer from serious illnesses, such as diabetes or heart disease, and when they do get sick, are less likely to have access to quality health care.ξξ

The five overall goals for reducing disparities and associated action steps include:

  1. Transform Health Care:ξ expanding insurance coverage, increasing access to care through development of new service delivery sites and introducing quality initiatives such as increased utilization of medical homes.ξ
  2. Strengthen the Nationäó»s Health and Human Services Workforce:Œæ recruiting undergraduates from under-served communities for public health and biomedical sciences careers, expanding and improving health care interpreting and translation, and supporting more training of community health workers.
  3. Advance the Health, Safety and Well-Being of the American People: implementing the CDCäó»s new Community Transformation Grants, and additional targeted efforts to achieve improvements in cardiovascular disease, childhood obesity, tobacco-related diseases, maternal and child health, flu and asthma.
  4. Advance Scientific Knowledge and Innovation:ξ implementing a new health data collection and analysis strategy authorized by the Affordable Care Act, and increasing patient-centered outcomes research.
  5. Increase the Efficiency, Transparency and Accountability of HHS Programs: ensuring that assessments of policies and programs on health disparities will become part of all HHS decision-making.ξξ Evaluations will measure progress toward reducing health disparities.