3 takeaways from CMS' blog on National Minority Health Month


Every April, to honor National Minority Health Month, CMS recognizes past achievements, salutes current efforts and outlines future plans to continue the journey toward health equity and equality for all.

This year, Director of the Office of Minority Health at CMS Cara James, PhD, authored a blog to commemorate National Minority Health Month. Highlighted below are three thoughts from Dr. James' blog.

1. In the past 50 years, there have been many landmark achievements in health equity, including the publication of the Secretary's report on Black & Minority Health, also known as the Heckler Report, and the creation of the HHS Office of Minority Health. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality also began publishing an annual National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report.

"The passage of the Affordable Care Act and the enrollment of millions of Americans, including many people of color, in health plans, illustrate our continued advancement towards better care and healthier communities," wrote Dr. James.

2. Current CMS Office of Minority Health activities designed to improve minority health include the From Coverage to Care program, an ongoing initiative designed to help consumers understand their healthcare coverage, and the CMS Equity Plan for Improving Quality in Medicare, CMS' first strategic equity plan. The office is also working on strengthening data collection and analysis, and embedding a focus on health equity into new and existing programs and policies across the agency.

Dr. James also highlighted one of the newest efforts — an interactive web-based tool launched last month for mapping Medicare disparities. "The Mapping Medicare Disparities Tool contains health outcome measures for disease prevalence, costs and hospitalization for 18 specific chronic conditions, emergency department utilization, readmissions rates, mortality and preventable hospitalizations," she wrote.

3. There is still a way to go, according to Dr. James who wrote, "We know we cannot achieve health equity on our own. It will take the support of partners from the federal to the community level."

Dr. James encourages everyone to join the CMS Office of Minority Health's efforts to achieve health equity by using the resources previously mentioned as well as bookmarking the CMS OMH website, joining the OMH listserv and building new health equity activities.



More articles on minorities' health:
Ambulances are more likely to be diverted when the patient inside is black, study finds
Healthcare barriers persist for lesbian, gay and bisexual patients
CMS designs tool to track Medicare disparities in the US

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