Massachusetts Hospitals To Begin Asking Patients About Race, Ethnicity, Preferred Language
Massachusetts hospitals as of Jan. 1, 2007, will have to comply with new regulations requiring them to ask patients about their race, ethnicity, preferred language and other details in an effort to better serve the state's diverse population, the Berkshire Eagle reports. According to Deborah Bielanski, director of patient financial services at Northern Berkshire Healthcare, many hospitals already ask patients such questions, and the new regulations will ensure that all facilities are asking for the information in the same way. She said that "it's important to know that patients are not required to answer these questions," adding, "We simply want to make sure our patients get the best quality health care, and we need to be aware, so we can work on different training methods to deal with diversity." Hospitals on a quarterly basis will report information from the questions to the state Department of Health and Human Services. Some hospitals recently participated in a seminar on culture-based care that was hosted in part by the not-for-profit Massachusetts Hospital Association (Willis, Berkshire Eagle, 12/19).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.