Health Plans Recognized for Efforts To Reduce Racial Health Disparities
The National Committee for Quality Assurance on Tuesday gave nine health plans the 2007 Recognizing Innovation in Multicultural Health Care award for efforts that seek to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities, CQ HealthBeat reports.
UnitedHealthCare received the award for its Asian In-Language Provider Directory, which lists the ethnicities and language skills of medical workers. The directory, which aims to improve communication between physicians and non-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 numbers of Asian patients. UnitedHealthCare also has collaborated with HHS' Office of Minority Health for an effort that disseminates educational material to health care workers to help them offer more culturally competent care to patients, according to spokesperson Dan Miller.
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care also received the award for developing interactive speech recognition technology that sends reminders to patients about colorectal cancer screening.
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 for racial 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).