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APA Leads Efforts to Ensure HCR Addresses Health Disparities

Public Interest Directorate staff lead the National Working Group on Health Disparities and Health Reform.

The National Working Group on Health Disparities and Health Reform, a group created and led by PI-GRO, recently sent letters to Congress and the Administration regarding the need to preserve critical health disparities provisions in the final health care reform package. The letter, which urged that the provisions around data collection, health care quality improvements, health workforce investment, language services, and prevention and wellness be given special consideration, garnered the support of more than 250 organizations and coalitions.

PI-GRO also spearheaded a standing room only congressional briefing, entitled “Cost Savings of Reducing Health Disparities in Health Reform,” on behalf of the Working Group. In his remarks, lead presenter and APA CEO Dr. Norman Anderson highlighted the importance of defining the nature of health and health care disparities to include all vulnerable populations. Also represented on the panel were the White House, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, The Carter Center, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the New America Foundation, and Adventist HealthCare, as well as the Joint Center for Economic and Political Studies and the Urban Institute, both of which unveiled new landmark reports on health disparities at the briefing. Topics discussed included how disparities originate, their direct and indirect costs to society, HCR trends and how they would or would not address disparities, and means of ending disparities.