2010 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

Alabama             

  • HB 384 and SB 499 (Risk Factors and Disease Management) Would create a task force to assess the current and future impact of dementia and Alzheimer's disease on the residents of Alabama. This bill outlines membership criteria, duties and responsibilities, and a termination date. The task force would examine health care disparities for minority populations with dementia. House: Passed, signed into law by governor, Act No. 2010-702, 4/29/2010.  Senate: Failed.

Arkansas

  • SB 30 (Commission) Makes an appropriation for the Arkansas minority health commission for the minority health initiative. Passed, signed in to law by governor as Act No. 227, 2/24/2010.

California

  • AB 1450 States the intent of the Legislature to address disparities in the provision of, and access to health care in the state. Failed.
  • AB 159 (Task Force) Would permit the State Department of Public Health to establish a task force to develop recommendations and educational materials for the department's prenatal health programs. The task force will also identify barriers to screening and treatment of women with PMAD and options for reducing those barriers. Failed.
  • AB 2172 (Education) Expresses the intent of the Legislature to help close the achievement gap in education by implementing the recommendations of the Superintendent of Public Instruction's report. Failed.
  • AB 2354 (Workforce) States the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would prepare California to receive and use various federal health care funding to prepare, train, promote and expand the work of community health workers. Failed.

Connecticut

  • HB 5027 (Cultural Competency and Research) Would require the University of Connecticut Health Center to include a health disparities institute that will enhance research and the delivery of care to the minority and medically underserved populations of the state in their new facilities plan. Would also require an institute for clinical and translational science to be located on the campus of The University of Connecticut Health Center. Enrolled, Public Act No. 10-104, 5/14/2010.

Florida

  • SB 2728 Would provide legislative intent and would provide the duties of the Office of Minority Health. Would require the office to submit an annual report to the governor and Legislature. Would require consideration of minority health issues and race in state policy and planning; provides for responsibility and coordination. Failed.
  • HB 593 and SB 1954 (Risk Factors and Disease Management) Would establish Office of Public Health Nutrition within Department of Health. Would authorize state agencies to conduct employee wellness programs. Would require Health Choice Network and other community health centers to build upon the natural referral and education networks in place within minority communities and to increase access to health service delivery in Florida. House: Failed.  Senate: Failed.  
  • HB 1373 and SB 1300 (Task Force and Risk Factor Management) Would revise structure and objectives of Prostate Cancer Awareness Program within Department of Health. Would require the Department of Health and University of Florida Prostate Disease Center to establish Prostate Disease Center Prostate Cancer Task Force. The Task Force will develop activities to heighten awareness and educate residents, especially residents in underserved areas, regarding the importance of early detection and effective treatment options for prostate cancer and minimize health disparities through outreach, education and screening events. House: Failed. Senate: Failed.

Georgia

  • HB 844 (Cultural Competency) Would require continuing education in cultural competency for licensure of health care professionals to address disparities in medical treatment decisions based on race, ethnicity  and gender; to provide for legislative findings; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes. Failed. 

Hawaii

  • HB 2081 (Health Literacy) Would require the department of health to prepare written educational information about newborn infants who are born premature at less than 37 weeks' gestational age. The publications will be translated in various languages appropriate for parents of premature infants and will be updated every three years. In preparing the information, the Department of Health may consult with community organizations that focus on premature infants or pediatric health care. Failed.  

Illinois

  • HB 1081 (Workforce) Would create the Comprehensive Healthcare Workforce Planning Act to provide an ongoing assessment of health care workforce trends and other matters. Would amend the Loan Repayment Assistance for Physicians Act. Would create the Community Health Provider Targeted Expansion Act to establish a program of grants for community health providers. Would establish the State Healthcare Workforce Council to provide an ongoing assessment of health care workforce trends, training issues, and financing policies, and to recommend appropriate state government and private sector efforts to address needs. The council will focus on: health care workforce supply and distribution; cultural competence and minority participation in health professions education; primary care training and practice; and data evaluation and analysis. In House Committee on Rules. 
  • HB 5565 Would require the state ‘Health Improvement Plan’ to include priorities and strategies for reducing and eliminating health disparities in areas such as racial and ethnic, gender, age, socio-economic, and geographic disparities. Enacted, signed into law by governor, Public Act No. 1153, 7/21/2010.

Indiana

  • HB 1277 (Medicaid and Cultural Competency) Would require a Managed Care Organization that contracts with the office of Medicaid policy and planning (OMPP) to provide Medicaid services to report to the select joint commission on Medicaid oversight concerning the MCO's culturally and linguistically appropriate services standards plan and the progress in implementing these standards, report to OMPP specified member related information, implement certain standards. Failed, session adjourned.
  • SB 387 Would establish the office of the director of minority health within the state department of health. Enacted, Public Law No. 38, 3/17/2010. 

Iowa

  • HB 658 (Cultural Competency) Would require the completion of cultural competency instruction by health professionals and students enrolled in health-related degree programs. Failed. 
  • HB 2144 Would require the prenatal council created in this bill to recommend strategies to collect and provide statistically accurate data on chronic disease in multicultural groups of racial and ethnic diversity in the state. After implementation of recommended strategies and collection of data, the council would also be required to make evidence based recommendations to the director to address and reduce identified disparities. Passed, signed into law by governor, 3/22/2010.

Maryland

  • HB 114 and SB 291 (Workforce) Would require health occupations boards to collect specified racial and ethnic information. Would require that, to the extent practicable, members of health occupations boards reasonably reflect the geographic, racial, ethnic, and cultural and gender diversity of the state. Enacted, signed into law by the governor, Chapter No. 534, 5/20/2010.
  • HB 561 Would require the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities to develop a process for mapping health disparities in Prince George's County; requires the Office to use specified information, define geographic boundaries, and identify and use any appropriate information and means to map health disparities. Failed.
  • HB 929 Patient-Centered Medical Home: Would amend the act to address racial and ethnic disparities; cultural competency; and education of patients and providers. Passed, Signed into Law by the Governor, Chapter No. 6, 4/12/2010.
  • HB 341 Minority Health Impact Assessment:  Would require the Maryland Department of Legislative Services to prepare Fiscal Notes for proposed bills regarding prevention or screening for a disease, illness or injury to include the impact on the health of minority populations. Failed.
  • HB 1459 Would require the Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene to require staff of the Maryland Medical Assistance Program to work with the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities to carry out analyses, develop strategies, provide guidance, and submit reports relating to racial and ethnic health care disparities among program enrollees. Failed. 
  • SB 855 Requires the Health Care Commission to establish a Patient Centered Medical Home Program. The commission is charged with ensuring that a participating patient centered medical home provides ongoing culturally and linguistically appropriate care for the purpose of reducing health disparities. Passed, signed in to law by the governor, Chapter No. 5, 4/13/2010.
  • SB 797 (Risk Factors and Disease Management) Would establish a Task Force on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders to examine specific population data. The task force will include a health care professional with expertise in addressing racial and ethnic health disparities. Failed. 

Massachusetts

  • HB 2093 (Research) Would require the executive office of health and human services to evaluate the impact of employment, education, health care, housing, recreation, financial lending, racism and discrimination on health. Based on this evaluation, the office will direct its agencies to develop regulations to reduce the impact of these factors on racial and ethnic health and health care disparities. In House, second reading.
  • SB 2593 (Replaced SB 810) Would require the Office of Health Equity to coordinate all activities to eliminate racial and ethnic health and health care disparities. The office will set goals for the reduction of disparities, and prepare an annual plan to eliminate disparities. In House Ways and Means Committee.
  • SB 811 Would establish community-based grant programs to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities. From Joint Committee on Public Health, accompanied by SB 810.

Minnesota

  • SB 3009 and HB 3630 (Research) Would require the commissioner of health to develop new categories for collecting data that accurately captures race, ethnicity, primary language, and socioeconomic status. Senate: Failed, session adjourned. House: Failed, session adjourned.
  • HB 2582 and SB 2336 (Risk Factors and Disease Management) Would require the commissioner of human services to establish a demonstration project to provide additional medical assistance coverage for a maximum of 200 American Indian children in Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth who have been harmed by toxic environmental exposures leading to asthma. House: Failed, session adjourned. Senate: Failed, session adjourned.

Mississippi

  • HB 117 (Taskforce) Would create the Health Disparities Council. Failed, 3/2/2010.  
  • HB 1061 Would require the state health officer to develop a plan to close the gap in disparities in the health status of all racial and ethnic groups. Failed, 2/2/2010. 
  • HB 789 (Taskforce) Would create the Health Disparities Council. Failed, 2/2/2010.

New Jersey

  • SB 1251(Awareness) Would establish the Disparity in Treatment of Persons with Disabilities in Underrepresented Communities Commission. To Senate Committee on Community and Urban Affairs. 
  • AB 1761 (Workforce)Would make numerous changes in the Primary Care Physician and Dentist Loan Redemption Program, including providing for the redemption of a portion of the eligible student loan expenses of participants for each year of service in a designated underserved area or a health professional shortage area (HPSAs). Would also add requirements for program participants. To Assembly Committee on Health and Senior Services Committee.

New York

  • SB 7779 Would require cultural awareness and competence training for all medical professionals as part of their licensing requirements. Would also require biennial training in the non-discriminatory provision of medical services for physicians, physician assistants, dentists, dental hygienists, registered and licensed practical nurses, podiatrists, and optometrists. The commissioner is authorized and directed to develop and implement a statewide, community-based public health education program to reduce the root causes of disparities in minority health care. The program should be aimed at health care professionals, patients and patient advocates. To Senate Committee on Higher Education.
  • SB 5626 (Health Literacy) Would establish the interagency task force on health literacy to study the issue and develop recommendations to improve health literacy. In Senate Committee on Higher Education.  
  • SB 6736 (Research) Would support AIDS research designed to improve the public health, provide patients with new therapies, support collaborations between research communities and improve economic development across the state. In Senate Committee on Health (amended). 
  • SB 4157 (Risk Factors and Disease Management) Instructs state health officials to conduct a assessment of asthma risks for minorities. In Senate Committee on Health (amended).  
  • AB 10209 and SB 7167 Would authorize and direct the New York state Department of Health to conduct a study on the high incidence of asthma in the borough of the Bronx in New York City and prepare a remedial plan with findings from the study. This bill requires the study to include an analysis of high risk neighborhoods examining disparities in income, race and ethnicity, public and private housing, proximity to sources of air pollution, and an evaluation of the effectiveness of existing medical facilities. Assembly version: To Assembly Committee on Health. Senate version: To Senate Committee on Health.
  • AB 9833 (Awareness) Would amend the mental hygiene law, in relation to establishing the division of minority mental health within the office of mental health, and describes its powers and duties. To Assembly Committee on Ways And Means. 
  • AB 1475 Would provide the legislature and public with a comprehensive report on the status of minority health, as well as establish an annual analysis of the use and distribution of health care services and funds in minority populations so that any disparities may be resolved. To Senate Committee on Health. 

Ohio

  • SB 158 (Cultural Competency) Would require all health professionals to consider the problems of race- and gender-based disparities in health care treatment decisions and consult with one or more professionally relevant and nationally recognized organizations, or similar entities, that review the curricula offered by the applicable health care professional schools, colleges and other educational institutions. To Senate Committee on Health, Human Services, and Aging. 

Oklahoma

  • SB 2133 Would rename the Office of Minority Health within the State Department of Health to the Office of Multicultural Health. The Office of Multicultural Health would be responsible for ensuring better access to and communication among health care entities throughout the state about health services, health status, and health results for culturally and ethnically diverse communities experiencing health disparities. Failed, session adjourned.

Rhode Island

  • SB 2428 (Taskforce) Would create the Commission of Health Advocacy and Equity Act. Failed, session adjourned.
  • HB 7919 (Office) Would establish the office of health advocacy and equity which would seek to eliminate racial and ethnic health and health care disparities. This act would establish an advisory council and would also require an annual evaluation, an annual disparities impact statement, data collection coordination, a council to coordinate state, local private sectors and administration of research grants program. This act would take effect upon passage. Failed, session adjourned.

Tennessee

  • SB 1566 and HB 1833 (Risk Factors and Disease Management) Would create a 27-member chronic kidney disease task force to develop a plan to educate the public and health care professionals about advantages and methods of early screening, diagnosis and treatment of chronic kidney disease; recommend a plan for early screenings, diagnosis and treatment; and identify barriers to adoption of the best practices and potential public policy options to address the barriers. The Department of Heath will provide administrative and research staff for the task force. The task force will submit a report to the General Assembly within one year from the date of its first meeting. Substituted on Senate floor by H 1833. Senate: Failed, session adjourned. House: Passed, signed into law by the Governor, Chapter No. 576, 7/06/2009.
  • HB 50 and SB 705 (Risk Factor Management) This bill would require the Department of Health, in coordination with the Office of Minority Health, to develop an initiative to respond to HIV/AIDS infection cases in the African-American community, which includes the appointment of a statewide steering committee. Creates a grant program to fund services and programs in high-risk areas to improve treatment of HIV/AIDS and to prevent its transmission. In House. Substituted on House floor by S 705. House: Failed, session adjourned. Senate: Passed, signed into law by the Governor, Chapter No. 467, 6/30/2009.

Virginia

  • SB 731 (Workforce) Would amend the Virginia Health Workforce Development Authority and requires it to develop a statewide health professions pipeline that identifies, educates, recruits and retains a diverse, appropriately geographically distributed and culturally competent quality workforce. Passed, signed into law by Governor, Chapter No. 488, 4/11/2010.

Washington

  • SB 6726 Would create a working group on language access services to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of language access services provided to Washington Medicaid enrollees with limited English proficiency. The bill also granted language access providers collective bargaining rights. Passed, signed into law by Governor, Chapter No. 296, 4/1/2010.

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