2013 Health Disparities Legislation

1/7/2014

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 underserved populations. 

State

Bill/ Summary/ Status

Arkansas

  • SB 50 Provides for the Arkansas minority health commission appropriation for the 2013-2014 fiscal year. Signed by Governor. Act No. 20.

California

  • ACR 1 States that the University of California, Riverside School of Medicine serves an important role in the state by training a workforce of physicians and providing health care to an underserved region. Resolution Chapter No. 54. 
  • SB 21 Given the low supply of primary care physicians and underrepresentation of Latinos, African Americans and Native Americans in the state’s physician workforce, requires the School of Medicine at the University of California, Riverside to develop a program in conjunction with its medical residency programs to identify eligible medical residents and assist them in applying for physician retention programs and scholarships. Chapter No. 203.
  • AB 411 Requires all Medi-Cal managed care plans to analyze their Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set measures, or their External Accountability Set performance measure equivalent, by race, ethnicity, and primary language, and to implement strategies to reduce identified disparities between members of different races and ethnicities and with different primary languages. Requires that these analyses be reported to the State Department of Health.  Vetoed by Governor.
  • AB 496 Amends existing law that creates the Task Force on Culturally and Linguistically Competent Physicians and Dentists. Requires the task force members to provide health services to, or advocate on behalf of, members of language and ethnic minority groups and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender groups. Requires the physician linguistic competency program to address those groups. Requires program training to be formulated with medical societies of those groups. In Senate. From third reading. To Inactive File.
  • AB 565  Amends the California Physician Corps Program. Requires the guidelines for the selection and placement of program applicants to include criteria that would give priority consideration to program applicants who have 3 years of experience providing health care services to medically underserved populations in a federally designated health professional shortage area or medically underserved area and who agree to practice in those areas and serve a medically underserved population. Chaptered by Secretary of State. Chapter No. 378.
  • SB 508 Requires the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development to develop a health disparity report based upon the inpatient hospital discharge data. Requires the report to focus on areas such as cardiovascular disea​se and breast cancer, and report to the legislature by January 1, 2016. Pending, Carryover. 
  • AB 1182 Declares the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would help increase the number of physicians and surgeons, registered nurses, and other health care professionals in medically underserved areas. Pending, Carryover.
  • AB 1288 Requires the State Medical Board and the Osteopathic Medical Board of California to develop a process to give priority review status to the application of an applicant who can demonstrate that he or she intends to practice in a medically underserved area or serve in a medical underserved population. Chaptered by Secretary of State. Chapter No. 307.
  • SCR 24 Designates the week of April 15, 2013 as National ​Multicultural Cancer Awareness Week. Encourages the promotion of policies and programs that seek to reduce cancer disparities and improve cancer prevention, detection, treatment, and follow up care for all Californians. Resolution Chapter No. 96.
  • SCR 63 Proclaims the week of August 11, 2013 as National Health Center Week. Resolution Chapter No. 116.

Colorado

  • HB 1088 Changes the name of the Office of Health Disparities in the Department of Public Health and Environment to the Office of Health Equity; adds duties to the office, including promoting health equity. Replaces the Minority Health Advisory Commission with the Health Equity Commission, whose purpose is to advise the Office of Health Equity on health equity issues. Session Law Chaptered. Chapter No. 25.     

Con​necticut

  • SB 1026 Requires the Council on Medical Assistance Program Oversight to study obstacles to achieving an adequate health care provider network for Medicaid recipients and recommend, among other things, strategies to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in health outcomes. Enacted. Special Act No. 13-7  
  •  SB 466 Concerns continuing education for physicians. Requires physicians earn at least one contact hour of training or education in cultural competency, among others, at least once every six years. Enacted. Public Act No. 13-217. 

Florida

  • HB 241 / SB 894 Creates the Community Health Worker Task Force within a state college or university. Requires the Department of Health to provide administrative support. Requires the task force to submit a report to the governor and legislature by June 30, 2014. Failed.

Hawaii

  • HB 264 Requires continuing education for nurse aides to include multicultural health awareness and education. Pending, Carryover.
  • HB 1383 / SB 665 Appropriates funds to address the shortage of primary care physicians in the State through a comprehensive primary care workforce development plan that addresses the critical areas of loan repayment, diversity programs, and primary care workforce expansion. Pending, Carryover.
  • SB 1140 Establishes the infant mortality reduction advisory board; requires the department of health to develop and publish a statewide, comprehensive infant mortality reduction strategic plan, including strategies to address social determinants of health as they relate to infant mortality. Pending, Carryover.
  • SCR 151/ SR 110 Urges the establishment of a work group to examine the social determinants of health and risk adjustment for Medicaid, gap-group and uninsured individuals by the President of the Senate and the Speakers of the House of Representatives. SCR 151: Pending, Carryover; SR 110: Adopted.
  • HCR 146 / HR 115 Urges the establishment of a work group to examine the social determinants of health and risk adjustment for Medicaid, gap-group and uninsured individuals by the President of the Senate and the Speakers of the House of Representatives. HCR 146: Adopted; HR 115: Adopted.

Louisiana

  • HR 212 Continues a study committee tasked with examining and reporting on effective means to strengthen the structure of the African American family as it relates to education outcomes, socioeconomic factors and health disparities. Adopted

Massachusetts

  • HB 1916 / SB 1022 Establishes a State Health Service Corps to provide comprehensive team-based health care at community health centers that bridges geographic, financial, cultural and language barriers for the medically underserved. Pending, Carryover.
  •  HB 1957 Requires the Department of Public Health implement a program for health literacy in healthcare facilities, pharmacies and health centers. Maintains that cultural competency enables organizations to work effectively in cross-cultural situations and developing and implementing a framework of cultural competence in health systems is an extended process that ultimately serves to reduce health disparities and improve access to high-quality health care. Pending, Carryover.
  • HB 2071 / SB 985 Creates the office of health equity within the executive office of health and human services; provides the office will be served by a director who reports directly to the secretary of health and human services. Outlines duties, including coordinating commonwealth activities to eliminate racial and ethnic health and health care disparities, preparing an annual report card, reporting to the governor, legislature and health disparities council. Pending, Carryover. 
  • HB 2072 Establishes an eye and vision care center within the department of public health for rural and underserved communities to improve access to eye and vision services; requires the center to coordinate the department’s eye and vision care workforce activities, monitor trends, review and collect data. Creates an eye and vision advisory council within the center. Creates an eye and vision care loan repayment and tuition relief program. Pending, Carryover.
  • SB 993 Establishes a health care workforce center within the department of public health to improve access to health care services; requires the center to monitor trends in access to primary care and oral health care providers, review and collect data on workforce and regional disparities. Requires the center to coordinate with the health disparities council and submit a report to the governor, legislature and health disparities council. Creates a health care workforce loan repayment program, administered by the center. Pending, Carryover.

Minnesota

  • HB 1047  / SB 582 Requires the commissioners of health and human services to review the materials and information related to postpartum depression to determine their effectiveness in transmitting the information in a way that reduces racial health disparities as reported in surveys of maternal attitudes and experiences before, during and after pregnancy, to the extent authorized by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pending, Carryover.
  • HB 1064 / SB 741 Appropriates $170,000 in FY 2014 from the general fund to the commissioner of health for a grant to a Somali-based organization to develop a reproductive health strategic plan to eliminate reproductive health disparities for Somali women. Requires the commissioner submit a report to the legislature on the strategic plan by February 15, 2014. Pending, Carryover.
  • HB 1345 / SB 1099 Modifies provisions related to health care and health disparities. Requires collecting and reporting of data useful in identifying and eliminating health disparities, such as race, ethnicity, language and other patient characteristics known to be correlated with poorer health, access and quality of care. Requires the commissioners of health and human services to report to the legislature. Pending, Carryover.
  • SB 1300 / HB 1499 Creates culturally targeted tobacco ​prevention grants. Requires the commissioner and community organizations that reflect communities disproportionately impacted by tobacco in Minnesota to develop and implement a coordinated plan to reduce health disparities in tobacco-related illnessesPending, Carryover.

Mississippi

  • HB 62 Would require the state health officer to develop a program to close the gap in the health status of all gender and racial groups in the following priority areas: infant mortality, breast and cervical cancer screening, HIV/AIDS and STDs, adult and child immunizations, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, accidental injuries and violence.  Requires evaluations and reports to the legislature. Failed.
  • HB 212 Creates the Health Disparities Council in the State Department of Health for the purpose of making recommendations to reduce and eliminate certain disparities in access to health care; provides for the membership and duties of the council. Failed.

New Jersey

  • AB 3355 / SB 2251 (Carryover) 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. Failed, Adjourned.  
  • AB 3595 / SB 116 Establishes the Disparity in Treatment of Persons with Disabilities in Underrepresented Communities Commission. Outlines commission duties and responsibilities, which include studying unique concerns of racial or ethnic minorities with disabilities; disparities in treatment of racial or ethnic minorities; and access to educational opportunities, employment opportunities, health care, and other services provided by both the private and public sectors. 12/19/2013. In Senate. Read second time on concurrence in Governor’s recommendation.  
  • AB 2970 (Carryover) Establishes the New Jersey Center for Oral Health at the New Jersey Dental School of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. The center shall develop and facilitate model public-private partnerships for oral health awareness campaigns to improve access, acceptability and use of oral health services; provide information, data and educational materials and assistance to local school districts, Early Head Start and Head Start programs, and develop recommendations for the most effective means of providing outreach to communities, among other initiatives. Failed, Adjourned.

New Mexico

  • HM 51 Requests the health policy commission conduct a study on the importance of and barriers to meeting the need for recruiting and retaining an adequate supply of bilingual behavioral health professionals. Requests the commission submit a report to the legislature by November 2013. Failed, Adjourned.

New York

  • AB 539 / AB 552 Would create the lupus research enhancement program and fund, including research examining health disparities seen in the incidence and prevalence of lupus. Failed.
  • AB 550 Would authorize a study and remedial plan for the high incidence of asthma in the borough of the Bronx in the city of New York. Failed.
  • AB 802 Would require insurance policy providers to maintain a database of health care providers that offer foreign language services. Pending, Carryover.
  • AB 1186 / SB 2348 Would require state agencies, boards and commissions that collect demographic data on ethnic origin to use separate categories for each major Asian and Pacific Islander group. Pending, Carryover.
  • AB 5426 Establishes a uniform health care disparities data collection system to enable health care consumers to be fully informed as to the record of health plans and health care institutions in addressing disparities and for state policymakers to address disparities. Pending, Carryover.
  • AB 6746 Requires cultural awareness and competence training for medical professionals. Enacted. Chaptered. Chapter No. 210.    
  • AB 7436 / SB 1426 Establishes the Minority Coordinating Council on Asthmatic Affairs within the department of health to assess the asthma risk factors for minority citizens; launches a statewide asthma awareness campaign; requires reports. Pending, Carryover.
  • AB 7719 Establishes the division of minority health within the office of mental health; establishes, within the division, a minority mental health council; provides that the division shall be responsible for assuring that mental health programs and services are culturally and linguistically appropriate to meet the needs of racial and ethnic minorities. Pending, Carryover.
  • SB 133 Would establish the “New York State Community Health Care Investment Fund,” which would be used for, among other activities, projects to improve cultural competence of the health care workforce, projects that collect data on ethnic and minority representation in the state health care workforce, and other projects related to ethnic and racial minorities in New York. Pending, Carryover.
  • SB 793 / AB 2471 Would require cultural awareness and competence training for all medical professionals as part of their licensing requirements. Pending, Carryover.
  • SB 852 Would create the minority mental health act to establish the division of minority mental health within the office of mental health. Pending, Carryover.
  • SB 925 Would require cultural awareness and competence training for medical professionals. Pending, Carryover.
  • SB 926 Would authorize a study and remedial plan for the high incidence of asthma in the borough of the Bronx in the city of New York. Pending, Carryover.  
  • SB 1426 Establishes a Minority Coordinating Council on Asthmatic Affairs within the department of health. Pending, Carryover.
  • SB 3211 Creates an interagency task force on health literacy to study and improve health care access and outcomes, especially among older adults, minority and/or immigrant populations, lower-income populations, and medically underserved populations. Requires the task force to report its findings to the legislature no later than December 15, 2014. Pending, Carryover.

Ohio

  • SB 131 Requires certain health care professionals to complete instruction in cultural competency. Requires state boards adopt rules that establish requirements around cultural competency. Pending, Carryover.

Oklahoma

  • SR 33 / SR 35 / HR 1027 Declares May 26, 2013 Lupus Advocacy Day and May 2013 Lupus Awareness Month in Oklahoma. States that African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans and Asian Americas are two to three times more likely to develop lupus.  SR 33: Failed, Adjourned; SR 35: Adopted; HR 1027: Adopted.

Oregon

  • HB 2134 / SB 168 Requires Oregon Health Authority and Department of Human Services to adopt by rule uniform standards for collection of data on race, ethnicity and preferred languages of medical assistance recipients; provides that standards must be based on local, statewide and national best practices for data collection; requires report to appropriate committees of Legislative Assembly on implementation of standards. Senate Version: Failed; House Version: Enacted. Chapter No. 264.
  • HB 2611 Directs certain health professional regulatory boards to adopt rules by January 1, 2017, requiring licensees to document participation in continuing education opportunities relating to cultural competency approved by Oregon Health Authority; requires authority to collaborate with boards to define " cultural competency," develop list of approved continuing education opportunities and provide list to boards on or before January 1, 2015. Enacted. Chapter No. 240.
  • SB 530 Directs certain health professional regulatory boards to adopt rules by January 1, 2016, requiring licensees to document participation in continuing education related to cultural competency approved by the Oregon Health Authority. Requires the authority to collaborate with boards to define “cultural competency,” develop a list of approved continuing education opportunities and provide list to boards on or before January 1, 2015. Failed. 

Rhode Island

  • SR 1032 Designates the week of August 11, 2013 as National Health Center Week in the State of Rhode Island. Chaptered. Resolution No. 2013-380.

Texas

  • HB 1045 / SB 1346 Relates to establishing a task force on cultural competence. Requires the task force to study and make recommendations on specific cultural competence curricula for each health-related education field offered by an institution of higher education; requires the task force to report its recommendations by January 1, 2015. Failed, Adjourned.
  • HB 2038 / SB 1032 Relates to the duties of the Center for Elimination of Disproportionality and Disparities. Revises duties to include identification of social determinants and health conditions in most need of high-impact response to address disproportionality and disparities across health and human services agencies and monitor the implementation of plans to address health disparities. Requires the center to submit a report. Failed, Adjourned.
  • SR 126 Recognizes February 5, 2013 as Texas Promotores and Community Health Workers Day at the state capitol. Adopted. 
  • HR 1320 Recognizes April 2013 as Minority Cancer Awareness Month in Texas. Adopted. 

Utah

  • SB 85 Requires the Bureau of Health Promotion to promote the use of community health workers in medically underserved communities, develop programs to educate community members on available health systems and reduce dependence on emergency rooms for primary and routine care; establishes a pilot program for placement of community health workers in medically underserved populations; creates an advisory board. Failed.

 

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