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Efforts To Reduce Racial Health Disparities

Armen Hareyan's picture

The National Committee for Quality Assuranceon Tuesday gave nine health plans the 2007 Recognizing Innovation inMulticultural Health Care award for efforts that seek to reduce racialand ethnic health disparities, CQ HealthBeat reports.

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UnitedHealthCarereceived the award for its Asian In-Language Provider Directory, whichlists the ethnicities and language skills of medical workers. Thedirectory, which aims to improve communication between physicians andnon-English speaking patients, is available in Cantonese, Mandarin,Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese. It also lists providers in California,Texas and Illinois, three states that have some of the highest numbersof Asian patients. UnitedHealthCare also has collaborated with HHS' Office of Minority Healthfor an effort that disseminates educational material to health careworkers to help them offer more culturally competent care to patients,according to spokesperson Dan Miller.

Harvard Pilgrim Health Carealso received the award for developing interactive speech recognitiontechnology that sends reminders to patients about colorectal cancerscreening.

The Minority Health and Health Disparity Elimination Act (S 1576 and HR 3333),sponsored by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Rep. Jesse Jackson(D-Ill.), would authorize $500 million to improve health care forracial and ethnic minorities. The bills have been sent to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and the House Energy and Commerce committees for review (Straus, CQ HealthBeat, 11/13).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser WeeklyHealth Disparities Report,search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Weekly HealthDisparities Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of TheHenry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.