Maryland Lawmakers Seek $2.6M To Address Minority Health Disparities
Members of a Maryland House of Delegates subcommittee said they will draft a proposal requesting $2.6 million to fund the state Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities, Capital News Service/Southern Maryland Online reports. The office, which was established by the Legislature in 2004, has not received funds directly from the state budget. It operates on funds that have been redirected from other programs, Delegate Shirley Nathan-Pulliam (D), member of the House of Delegates committee that monitors health disparities, said. In addition, if Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley's (D) health plan is approved, the office could receive $10 million earmarked for minority health, Nathan-Pulliam added. Subcommittee members maintain that although the state has made efforts to narrow the health care gap between whites and minorities, other issues need to be addressed to further close the gap. They recommended more health care outreach in communities and increasing the number of minority doctors in the state. Nathan-Pulliam said that doctors must be "clinically culturally competent." She added, "I'm going to make sure that the health disparity issues stay on the governor's radar screen. Having access does not equate to quality" (Boykin, Capital News Service/Southern Maryland Online, 2/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.