2012 Health Disparities Legislation

Life expectancy and overall health have improved in recent years for most Americans, thanks in part to a better focus on preventive medicine and advances in medical technology. While Americans as a group are healthier and living longer, disparities persist. For a number of racial and ethnic minorities in the United States, good health is more difficult to attain because appropriate care is often associated with an individual's economic status, race and gender.

Policymakers are responding to these issues by introducing legislation aimed at eliminating health disparities. The bills listed below have been introduced to address the social determinants of health and are aimed at eliminating health disparities for all underserved populations.   

State

Bill/ Summary/ Status

California

  • ACR 142  Would designate April 15-21 as “National Multicultural Cancer Awareness Week” to encourage promotion of policies and programs aimed at reducing cancer disparities.  Chaptered by Secretary of State. Res. Chapter No. 30

 

  • AB 2134 Concerns community mental health services - outpatient treatment. Would provide staff that have the cultural background and linguistic skills necessary to remove barriers to mental health services as a result of cultural differences and limited English-speaking ability. Failed,  Adjourned.

Florida

  • HB 459 and SB 564 Provides duties of the Office of Minority Health. House version: Died in Committee;  Senate version: Died in Committee.

Georgia

  • HR 758 Urges health care professionals to complete training in cultural competency at least every two years. Failed, Adjourned.

Hawaii

  •  HB 1983 and SB 2174 Recognizes the diverse health experiences and needs among Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. Would require Hawaii’s state agencies to use separate data collection categories for Native Hawaiians, each major Asian group, and other major Pacific Islander groups to facilitate the proper collection and reporting of data. Failed, Adjourned.
  • HB 2050 Requires training programs and the recertification process for nurse aides to include a multicultural health awareness education program. Failed, Adjourned.
  • HR 143, SCR 143, and SR 79 Requests that the Governor direct all state departments to comply with the United States Office of Management and Budget’s Statistical Policy Directive No. 15, “Race and Ethnic Standards for Federal Statistics and Administrative Reporting,” which separates the “Asian and Pacific Islander” category into two categories entitled “Asians” and “Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders.” Adopted.
  • HCR 185 Would require the Governor to request all state departments comply with the United States Office of Management and Budget’s Statistical Policy Directive No. 15, “Race and Ethnic Standards for Federal Statistics and Administrative Reporting,” which separates the “Asian and Pacific Islander” category into two categories entitled “Asians” and “Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders.”  Failed - Adjourned.

Illinois

  • SB 174 Requires the State Board of Health to deliver to the Governor, for presentation to the General Assembly, a State Health Improvement Plan which includes recommendations regarding priorities and strategies for reducing and eliminating health disparities in Illinois. Signed by Governor, Public Act No. 734

Indiana

  • HB 1335 Requires the Medical Education Board to establish an education program for first year medical students that addresses health disparities and the disproportional access to health care services affecting racial and ethnic minority groups in Indiana. Failed, Adjourned.

Louisiana

  • HR 146 Creates a study committee to examine and make recommendations with respect to the structure of the African American family as it relates to education outcomes, socioeconomic factors, and health disparities. Adopted.

Maryland

  • HB 439 and SB 234 Creates the Maryland Health Improvement and Disparities Reduction Act of 2012. Requires the Secretary of Mental Health and Hygiene to designate certain areas as Health Enterprise Zones, and to adopt an evaluation and reporting system for racial and ethnic health disparities. Enacted Chapter No. 3
  • HB 641 Requires the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to coordinate with the Maryland Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities to develop a plan to address Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C viruses that disproportionately affect minority populations in the state.  Also requires the Maryland Health Care Commission to examine research findings surrounding health disparities and the most effective treatment for African Americans with Hepatitis C. Enacted Chapter No. 669.
  • HB 679 Requires the Maryland Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities to work collaboratively with universities, public health and social work programs, and allied health to create courses focusing on cultural competency and sensitivity. Alters the term “health care provider” to “health care professional” to include pharmacists and health educators. Enacted Chapter No. 671 
  •  HB 780 Requires the Maryland Health Care Commission to create a Work Group on multicultural health care equity certification and accreditation. The Work Group also must provide recommendations to improve cultural competency and health literacy training and assessments.  Also requires the work group develop criteria, standards and program and create a report for the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee and the House Health and Government Operations Committee. Failed.

Massachusetts

  • HB 1496 Creates an eye and vision care center in the Department of Public Health to improve access to eye and vision care health care services for rural and underserved communities. Failed, Adjourned.
  • HB 4070  Establishes a fund to be known as the prevention and cost control trust fund. One provision would require a report to be filed with the Commissioner of the Department of Public Health that includes information related to the most prevalent preventable health conditions in the commonwealth, including health disparities experienced by populations based on race, ethnicity, gender, disability status, sexual orientation, or socio-economic status. Failed, Adjourned.
  • HB 1517 and SB 1091 Creates the Office of Health Equity within the Department of Health and Human Services. Failed, Adjourned.
  • HB 1518 and SB 1092 Creates a community-based agency disparities reduction grant program to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities among predominantly underserved populations. Failed, Adjourned.
  • HB 3865 Creates a special commission for the purpose of devising a statewide strategy to modernize HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment in the Commonwealth. Failed, Adjourned.

Mississippi

  • HB 65 Establishes a program to “close the gap” in health status for gender and racial groups for certain health priority areas. Promotes partnerships between the State Health Officer and community-based organizations specializing in health disparities for the purpose of establishing measureable outcomes and creating a comprehensive plan to reduce health disparities in the state. Died in Committee.
  • HB 500 Creates the Health Disparities Council, which will make recommendations to reduce and eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities in Mississippi. Establishes rules for the governance of the Council. Died in Committee.

New Jersey

  • AB 3355 / SB 2251 Would require the New Jersey Office of Minority and Multicultural Health (OMMH) to include hepatitis B as a priority condition under the “Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative.”  The initiative requires the OMMH develop and implement a comprehensive, coordinated plan to reduce health disparities between white and racial and ethnic minority populations in the state, and lists the medical conditions considered priorities. This bill amends the law to include hepatitis B. (Carryover).  
  • SB 116 Establishes the Disparity in Treatment of Persons with Disabilities in Underrepresented Communities Commission. The commission is tasked with studying and reporting the disparate treatment of racial or ethnic minorities who are disabled. Studies would focus on the effect that racial or minority status has on exacerbating the impact of a disability. (Carryover).    
  • SB 1787 Would create the New Jersey Center for Oral Health at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Dental School. One of the primary tasks of the New Jersey Center for Oral Health would be advocating for the implementation of measures to reduce and eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities regarding “access to high-quality oral health care, utilization of oral health care services, and oral health status.” (Carryover).    

New Mexico

  • SJM 29; HM 59; SM 33 Encourages agencies to adopt a policy to address institutional racism, as it results in racial disparities with respect to health, education, criminal justice, employment and housing. SJM - Died; HM - Died; SM Passed Senate – adopted .

New York

  • AB 453 and SB 2745  Directs the New York state department of health to conduct a study on the high incidence of asthma in the borough of the Bronx in the city of New York and to prepare a remedial plan. Failed, Adjourned.
  • AB 1434 and SB 118  Would require cultural awareness and competence training for all medical professionals. Failed, Adjourned.
  • AB 5761  Would require cultural awareness and competence training for all medical professionals. Failed, Adjourned.
  • AB 6241 Directs the office of minority health to establish a program of data collection for the assessment of disparities in health and the delivery of health care to minorities in New York state. Failed, Adjourned.
  • AB 7003 and SB 4550 Establishes a Minority Coordinating Council on Asthmatic Affairs within the department of health to assess the asthma risk factors for the minority citizens of the state. Failed, Adjourned.
  • AB 8278 Establishes a health care disparities data collection system. Failed, Adjourned.
  • AB 9792 and SB 7503 Requires every state agency, board, or commission that directly collects data on ethnic origin of residents to use separate categories for specified Asian groups. Failed, Adjourned.
  • SB 1650  Would require cultural awareness and competence training for all medical professionals. Failed, Adjourned.
  • SB 4077  Directs the office of minority health to establish a program of data collection for the assessment of disparities in health and the delivery of health care to minorities in New York state. Failed, Adjourned.
  • SB 6065 Expands the duties of the special advisory review panel on Medicaid managed care to include other public health insurance programs and evaluation and reporting on health care access and quality by race, ethnicity, language, disability and the availability of services and programs that address disparities in access to care and outcomes of care. Failed, Adjourned.

Ohio

  • SB 60 Requires certain health care professionals to complete instruction in cultural competency. Failed, Adjourned.

Pennsylvania

  • SR 271 Designates April as "Minority Health Month." Adopted 3/26/2012.

 

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