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Health Disparities Council Meets

Health Disparities Council Meets

July 29, 2009

Chaired by Representative Byron Rushing alongside EOHHS Secretary JudyAnn Bigby, the state’s Health Disparities Council launched in high spirits on Monday.

The assembly focused on a review of the developing state disparities report card; a tool intended to shape program and policy improvements to address health inequities. Dr. Joel Weissman of EOHHS completed a considerable draft model of the report card that includes not only outcome data for chronic diseases and health conditions, but a framework for examining the data by various social, economic, and community dimensions. Council members applauded the notable progress on the report card and discussed next steps related to data completion, artistic presentation, and language accessibility. Some members also emphasized the importance of adding data to the report card that is not hospital based, to capture disparities for populations that may not interact with the health care system.

The meeting also included a presentation from Russell Haynes of the state Board of Registry in Medicine. He updated the council on the Board’s licensing and continuing medical education requirements for physicians, and received feedback from members on the need for the Board to move forward policies that prioritize cultural competency. Members pointed to New Jersey as a model for MA to adopt, as it has required cultural competency training as a provision of physician licensure since 2005. Members also discussed working with the Board to obtain race/ethnicity data on medical errors and patient care assessment reporting requirements. Haynes noted that the Board recently moved physician’s licensure online, and included fields to collect physician race/ethnicity.

The Health Disparities Council will recess for August and reconvene in September. Visit the Health Disparities website:www.mass.gov/hdc to learn more about the discussions, opinions, or members.