A Healthy Blog

Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

May Health Disparities Council Meeting

May Health Disparities Council Meeting

May 28, 2009

Early last week, the Commonwealth’s Health Disparities Council held its monthly meeting to continue their work on creating policies to reduce health disparities among Massachusetts residents.

Since the Senate was in the midst of addressing their version of the FY10 budget, the meeting was chaired by Rep. Rushing and Sec. Bigby in the absence of Senator Fargo. The Report Card Group provided an update to the Council on its work thus far and presented a timeline for moving forward. The indicators they presented that are schedule to be included in the first draft of the report card are based on a model from the National Women’s Law Center. A number of Council members raised concerns about the indicators chosen and offered several suggestions for additional indicators focused on the social determinants of health.

Judy Parlato, Clinical Advisor from the Division of Health Care Finance and Policy presented updated information on Hospital Race and Ethnicity Data Collection, a commission recommendation. She outlined use of the data, shared information on race and ethnicity standards as well as the process for developing the Division’s new race and ethnicity requirements, and presented details of the Division’s implementation process. Parlato reported one great improvement: no missing data from participating hospitals found data collection easier to accomplish once they better understood how it would be used. Georgia Simpson May, Director of the Department of Public Health’s Office of Health Equity also provided the Council with an update of her office’s work on Interpreter Services.

The Council recently launched their new website (mass.gov/hdc) and encourages the public to visit it for the latest information and meeting materials. Any questions should be emailed to HDC@state.ma.us. Materials from this meeting will also be posted on our website as soon as we have them.
- Jessica Hamilton