2016 Health Disparities Legislation

6/26/2017

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.

The box allows you to conduct a full text search or type the state name.

Health Disparities Legislation

State

Bill / Summary / Status

Arizona

  • HB 2312 Amends existing law establishing the Advisory Council on Indian Health Care that assists tribes and urban Indian health organizations in shaping Medicaid and health care policies and laws that impact the populations they serve. Directs the Advisory Council to conduct studies and research to further the council's purpose, revises the council's membership, terms, and provisions governing compensation, and authorizes the council to seek grants and funding to further the purpose of the council. Enacted, Chapter 190.
  • SB 1238 Relates to authorized tribes and the State Advisory Council on Indian Health Care. Adds members to the council to establish and give tribal governments, tribal organizations and urban Indian health care organizations in the state representation in shaping Medicaid and health care policies and laws that affect the populations they serve. Directs the Arizona Advisory Council on Indian Health Care to develop comprehensive medical and public health care delivery and financing systems to meet the needs of tribes, and in doing so to, among other things, conduct and commission studies and research to further the purpose of the council to address identified Indian health care disparities in the state. Enacted, Chapter 151.

California

  • AB 59 Extends the operation of the Assisted Outpatient Treatment Demonstration Project Act of 2002, known as Laura's Law, that grants each county the authority to offer certain assisted outpatient treatment services for their residents by adoption of a resolution or through the county budget process and by making a finding that no mental health program may be reduced as a result of implementation. Requires that a county that chooses to provide assisted outpatient treatment services shall offer assisted outpatient treatment services including a service and delivery plan that contains evaluation strategies, which consider cultural, linguistic, gender, age, and special needs of minorities and those based on any characteristic listed or defined in Section 11135 of the Government Code in the target populations. Also requires that in the plan, provision shall be made for staff with the cultural background and linguistic skills necessary to remove barriers to mental health services as a result of having limited-English-speaking ability and cultural differences. Enacted, Chapter 251. 
  •  AB 2017 Establishes the College Mental Health Services Trust Account to create a grant program for public community college, colleges and universities to improve access to mental health services on campus. Requires campuses that received related grants to report on the use of grant funds. Requires the State Department of Health Care Services to report to the Legislature evaluating the impact of the program. Includes, as part of the preferred program components in the grant application, the ability of the campus to reduce racial disparities in access to mental health services. Vetoed. 
  • AB 2114 Appropriates revenues from the General Fund to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for allocation to specified counties to implement pilot programs to provide reentry services and support to persons who are, or who are scheduled to be, released from a county jail. Requires such programs to include specified components including support services for parents and a mentorship program. Requires participating counties to conduct a study on the program's effectiveness. Allocates funds to create pilot programs in select counties to provide reentry services and support to persons who are, or who are scheduled to be, released from a county jail. Each pilot program that receives funding is required to include a number of components, including services to address mental health issues, including mental health issues relating to sexual exploitation, racial and ethnic disparities, and trauma. Failed- Adjourned. 
  • AB 2424 Creates the Community-based Health Improvement and Innovation Fund for reducing the rates of preventable health conditions and addressing priority chronic health disparities with focus on health equity priority populations and strengthening local, regional, and state level collaborations. Requires the Department of Public Health to award moneys from the fund to improve health and health equity. Creates an advisory committee for a plan for advancing chronic disease and injury prevention. Failed- Adjourned. 
  • AB 2782 Creates the Healthy California Fund Oversight Committee to advise the multiple state departments with respect to policy development, integration, and evaluation of the state and local programs. Requires the Oversight Committee to develop a master plan for the future implementation of diabetes, obesity, and dental disease prevention programs. Establishes an equity subcommittee to ensure progress on advancing health equity. Failed- Adjourned. 
  • SB 1212 Authorizes the Public Utilities Commission, if it determines doing so is an appropriate use of funds collected from ratepayers, to expend up to a specified amount of funds from the Teleconnect Fund Administrative Committee Fund to help close 2-1-1 service gaps in counties lacking access to disaster preparedness, response, and recovery information and referral services, where technically feasible, through available 2-1-1 service. Enacted, Chapter 841. 
  • SCR 131 Recognizes May 2016 as National Mental Health Awareness Month in California to enhance public awareness of mental illness. Includes recognition that many of those in lower-income communities receive less care, poorer quality of care, and often lack access to culturally competent care, thereby resulting in mental health disparities. Adopted, Chapter 44.
  • SCR 134 Urges the State Department of Public Health to endorse the Screen at 23 campaign to screen all adult Asian Americans with a body mass index of 23 or higher for type II diabetes. Urges the State Department of Public Health to endorse and support the "Screen at 23" campaign's efforts to increase awareness of diabetes among Asian American communities, including the use of appropriate screening measures for Asian American patients, and to eliminate disparities. Adopted, Chapter 178.  

Connecticut

  • SB 32 Concerns the Commission on Health Equity, allows the Commission on Health Equity to appoint an executive director and place the commission within the Insurance Department for Administrative Purposes. Failed.
D.C.
  • B 651 Establishes health equity zones. Requires the mayor to submit an assessment of the health disparities in certain areas and to require the mayor to submit a plan to make healthcare access equitable in health equity zones by 2021. Also provides certain incentives for health related business that practice in a health equity zone. Amends District of Columbia Health Professional Recruitment Program Act of 2005 to increase the loan amounts that may be repaid. Failed- Adjourned.
Florida
  • HB 941 Amends existing law related to the Office of Minority Health in the Department of Health to rename it the Office of Minority Health and Health Equity. Provides for a senior health equity officer in the office who will administer the Closing the Gap grant program. The officer is required to evaluate the awarded grants to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of the use of funds and to determine best practices, and disseminate information on best practices to stakeholders. Enacted, Chapter 2016-230.

Hawaii

  • HCR 56 / HR 23 Expresses strong support for the establishment of the Wahiawa center for community health to provide primary medical care services to the medically underserved population of Wahiawa and its surrounding rural communities. Failed.
  • HCR 57 / HR 24 Urges the Department of Health to endorse the Screen at 23 campaign that screens adult Asian Americans for type 2 diabetes at a body mass index of 23, to increase awareness of diabetes among Asian American communities and to eliminate disparities. Failed.
  • SCR 25 Expresses strong support for the establishment of the Wahiawa center for community health to provide primary health care services to the medically underserved population of Wahiawa and its surrounding rural communities. Failed.
  • SCR 49 Urges the Department of Health to endorse the Screen at 23 campaign that screens adult Asian Americans who have a body mass index of 23 or higher for type 2 Diabetes, to increase awareness of diabetes among Asian American communities and to eliminate disparities. Adopted.
  • SR 8 Expresses strong support for the establishment of the Wahiawa center for community health to provide primary medical care services to the medically underserved population of Wahiawa and its surrounding rural communities. Failed – Adjourned.
  • SR 23 Urges the Department of Health to endorse the Screen at 23 campaign's efforts to screen adult Asian Americans for type 2 diabetes at a body mass index of 23, to  increase awareness of diabetes among Asian American communities and to eliminate disparities. Adopted.

Kentucky

  • HCR 174 Urges the governor to request the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to designate people with intellectual and developmental disabilities as a medically underserved population in the commonwealth. Acknowledges the health disparities experienced by individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and recognizes the benefits that could be realized with federal designation as a medically underserved population. Failed – Adjourned.

Louisiana

  • SR 42 Commends Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center for hosting Fest for Life, which provides free cancer screenings, as a minority cancer awareness event, on April 16, 2016. Adopted.

Massachusetts

  • SB 2143 / SB 608 / HB 3969 / HB 2048 Eliminates racial and ethnic health disparities in the commonwealth. Relates to an office of health equity to coordinate all activities to eliminate health disparities. Requires the office to set goals for the reduction of health disparities and prepare an annual plan to eliminate health disparities. Also requires the existing health disparities council to serve as an advisory board. Among other things, requires the office to coordinate with other state agencies, evaluate programs and best practices, and create an annual health disparity report card. Failed- Adjourned.

Maryland

  • HB 423 / SB 304 Establishes the Maryland Commission on Health in All Policies, provides for the purpose, composition, chair, and staffing of the commission, specifies the duties of the commission, requires specified health impact assessments to be performed in a specified manner, requires the commission to report to the governor and General Assembly on Dec. 1 of each year on the findings from and recommendations based on any health impact assessments performed by the commission. Failed – Adjourned.
  • SB 869 Requires the Governor's Office of Minority Affairs to convene a certain workgroup to explore issues of reconciliation processes and racial equity that includes certain stakeholders. Requires a certain workgroup to hold certain hearings, evaluate race relations, human rights, social justice, disparities, and institutional bias in the state, study certain racial disparities and institutional bias, determine certain best practices, strategies, and legislation, and make certain recommendations.  Failed – Adjourned.

Minnesota

  • HF 2749 / SF 2356 Relates to state finances. Among various other provisions, establishes a good food access program to increase the availability of and access to affordable, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food, including fresh fruits and vegetables, for underserved communities in low-income and moderate-income areas. Establishes an advisory committee. Requires a report. Enacted, Chapter 189.
  • HF 3498 Makes changes to the statewide quality and reporting system using measures that correlate with health disparities.  Failed – Adjourned.
  • HF 3970 Designates a home health care agency or a home and community-based services provider that provides culturally sensitive and competent services to high-risk and special needs populations as an essential community provider. Includes the ability to carry out home health care services consistent with awareness of cultural differences and behaviors, and specifically includes certain criteria such as serving refugee populations. Failed – Adjourned.
  • SF 2154 / HF 2322 Relates to health and creating licensing for the practice of clinical lactation services. Requires the commissioner of health to work with stakeholders to carry out a study identifying barriers, challenges, and successes affecting initiation, duration, and exclusivity of breastfeeding. Among other things, requires the study to identify and make recommendations regarding culturally appropriate practices that have been shown to increase breastfeeding rates in populations that have the greatest breastfeeding disparity rates. Requires a report. Failed – Adjourned.
  • SF 2809 / HF 3020 Establishes the Primary Care Case Management (PCCM) program. Among other provisions, provides that the commission shall set higher primary care case management fees based on the level of medical and social complexity for patients with chronic or complex conditions or disabilities as well as patients who have other challenges due to poverty, or other socioeconomic factors that lead to health disparities. Failed – Adjourned.
  • SF 2816 / HF 3025 Provides for disparity impact analysis of proposed legislation and each change in the governor's budget proposal. Requires state agencies to biannually report actions taken to address disparities. Also requires a report and recommendations to the legislature. Includes differences in health between the state population as a whole and subgroups of the population defined by race, gender, and geography in the definition of disparities. Failed – Adjourned.
  • SF 2943 / HF 3177 Requires the commissioner of health to study and report on disparities faced by women of color, American Indian women, and low-income women in accessing prenatal care. Appropriates money. Failed – Adjourned.
  • SF 2958 / HF 3363 Establishes a good food access program within the Department of Agriculture to increase the availability of and access to affordable, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food, including fresh fruits and vegetables, for underserved communities in low-income and moderate-income areas. Establishes an advisory committee. Requires a report. Failed – Adjourned.
  • SF 3129 / HF 3499 Makes changes to the statewide quality and reporting system using measures that correlate with health disparities. Failed – Adjourned.
  • SF 3332 / HF 3838 Requires the commissioner to seek necessary federal waiver authority to design and operate a health coverage continuum that reduces barriers to care and eases the transition across insurance affordability programs for consumers. Among other provisions, requires that the waiver incorporate multipayer alignment across insurance affordability programs that promote health equity. Failed – Adjourned.

Missouri

  • HB 1839 Requires all health care professionals to complete cultural competency training in school and as continuing education for licensure, certification or registration. Failed – Adjourned.

Mississippi

  • HB 268 Requires the state health officer to develop a program to close the gap in the health status of all gender and racial groups. Requires development of a comprehensive, coordinated plan to reduce health disparities in the health disparity priority areas and a statewide assessment. Also provides for the establishment of measurable outcomes. Provides for coordination, consultation and subcontracts with other organizations and projects. Requires evaluations and reports. Failed.
  • HB 271 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 and health outcomes, including those related to certain diseases and diversity in the health care workforce. Provides for the membership and duties of the council. Requires an annual report and recommendations. Failed.

New Jersey

  • AB 146 Establishes the Disparity in Treatment of Persons with Disabilities in Underrepresented Communities Commission in the Department of Community Affairs. Directs the commission to study the unique concerns of racial or ethnic minorities with disabilities and the effect their status as a racial or ethnic minority has on the impact of the disability. Includes access to health care, among other things, in the studies. Requires a report and recommendations. Pending – Assembly Human Services Committee.
  • AB 1410 Establishes the Office of State Dental Director and New Jersey Oral Health Commission. Among other things, provides that the director will serve as an advocate for the adoption and implementation of effective measures to improve the oral health of residents and eliminate disparities among the various racial and ethnic populations concerning access to high-quality oral health care, utilization of oral health care services, and oral health status. Pending – Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee.
  • AB 2263 Requires Hepatitis B to be considered a priority under the Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative. Pending – Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee.

New Mexico

  • SJM 5 Encourages every agency and entity that receives state funding to adopt a policy to address institutional racism. Failed – Adjourned.
  • HM 109 Requests the New Mexico Legislative Council to convene a task force to study and assess the feasibility and effectiveness of using health impact assessments in policymaking in the state. Failed – Adjourned.

New York

  • AB 9821 Establishes a Minority Coordinating Council on Asthmatic Affairs within the department of health to assess the asthma risk factors for the minority citizens of our state, counties and regions. Identifies the existing barriers to quality asthma treatment and care among minorities, develops action steps for addressing care issues, launches a state-wide asthma awareness campaign to educate our citizens about the disease, and requires report. Failed- Adjourned.
  • AB 10167 Amends existing law to rename the Office of Minority Health to the Office of Health Equity, and to rename the Minority Health Council to the Health Equity Council. Also changes the functions of the Office of Health Equity, including, among other things, collaborating with others on data, interventions and outreach, coordinating grants, developing programs to improve diversity in the health care workforce, and promoting community strategic planning. Failed- Adjourned.
  • SB 116 / AB 6679 Requires cultural awareness and competence training for all medical professionals as part of their licensing requirements. Requires biennial training in the nondiscriminatory provision of medical services for physicians, physician assistants, dentists, dental hygienists, registered and licensed practical nurses, podiatrists, and optometrists. Provides the basis for an exemption from such requirement, and requires the development and implementation of a community health education program to reduce health care disparities. Failed- Adjourned. 
  • SB 3246 Establishes a Minority Coordinating Council on Asthmatic Affairs within the department of health to assess the asthma risk factors for the minority citizens of our state, counties and regions. Identifies the existing barriers to quality asthma treatment and care among minorities, develops action steps for addressing care issues, launches a statewide asthma awareness campaign to educate our citizens about the disease, and requires report. Failed- Adjourned.
  • SB 8091 Authorizes and directs the New York State Department of Health to conduct a study on the high incidence of asthma in the city of New York and to prepare a remedial plan. Provides that the study shall include an analysis of high risk neighborhoods examining disparities in: income, race and ethnicity, public and private housing, proximity to major sources of air pollution, and an evaluation of the effectiveness of existing medical facilities. Failed- Adjourned.
  • SB 8155 Amends the Public Health Law, redefines the duties and renames the Office of Minority Health to the Office of Health Equity. Failed- Adjourned. 

Ohio

  • HB 514 Requires certain health care professionals to complete instruction in cultural competency. Failed- Adjourned.
  • SB 332 Requires state health care provider boards to adopt rules related to cultural competency instruction. Requires that the boards consider, and any approved courses address, race and gender-based disparities in health care treatment decisions. Enacted.

Oklahoma

  • SB 1261 Creates the Task Force on Oklahoma Criminal Justice Reform. Declares purpose to advise the legislature on numerous items, including recommendations for reform that address the potential for racial bias and health disparities in program implementation. Failed – Adjourned.

Rhode Island

  • HB 8121 (Resolution) Proclaims the Month of April, 2016, as Community Health Workers Month in the State of Rhode Island. (Resolution) Celebrates the month of April, 2016, as "Community Health Workers Month." Recognizes community health workers for adding diversity to the workforce, and that increasing  workforce diversity is vital to eliminating health disparities. Adopted, Chapter 2016-188.
  • SB 2919 (Resolution) Proclaims April, 2016, to be Health Disparity Month in the state. Adopted, Chapter 2016-178.
Tennessee
  • SB 2313 / HB 1845 Re-establishes the health equity commission. Establishes membership and duties of the commission. Requires a report. Failed – Adjourned.

Washington

  • HB 1441 Authorizes dental health aide therapist services within the practice setting of an Indian health program or an urban Indian health program to promote dental care access. Directs the state health care authority to coordinate with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to provide that dental health aide therapist services are eligible for federal funding of up to 100 percent. Failed – Adjourned.

West Virginia

  • HB 4598 Establishes the Minority Health Advisory Team and a Community Health Equity Initiative Demonstration Project.  Failed – Adjourned.
  • SB 530 Authorizes a Community Health Equity Initiative Demonstration Project to develop a model government program to promote public health and general welfare, by addressing social determinants of health, through comprehensive community development for communities across West Virginia. Establishes the Minority Health Advisory Team, including its composition and duties, to advise the commissioner about the provision of public health services for the state's minority population. Also establishes requirements for a demonstration project plan and the selection of a community for participation, as well as reporting requirements. Failed – Adjourned.

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