Thursday, July 21, 2011

Affordable Care Act to improve data collection, reduce health disparities

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announces new draft standards to improve the monitoring of health data by race, ethnicity, sex, primary language, and disability status, and begins planning for the collection of LGBT health data

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced new draft standards for collecting and reporting data on race, ethnicity, sex, primary language and disability status, and announced the administration’s plans to begin collecting health data on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) populations. Both efforts aim to help researchers, policy makers, health providers and advocates to identify and address health disparities afflicting these communities.

“Health disparities have persistent and costly affects for minority communities, and the whole country,” Secretary Sebelius said. “Today we are taking critical steps toward ensuring the collection of useful national data on minority groups, including for the first time, LGBT populations. The data we will eventually collect in these efforts will serve as powerful tools and help us in our fight to end health disparities.”

Under the plan announced today, HHS will integrate questions on sexual orientation into national data collection efforts by 2013 and begin a process to collect information on gender identity. This plan includes the testing of questions on sexual orientation to potentially be incorporated into the National Health Interview Survey. The department also intends to convene a series of research roundtables with national experts to determine the best way to help the department collect data specific to gender identity.

“The first step is to make sure we are asking the right questions,” Secretary Sebelius said. “Sound data collection takes careful planning to ensure that accurate and actionable data is being recorded.”

Read the entire release at

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