Washington, D.C. (June 29, 2011) – Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus on Wednesday applauded the new draft standards released by the Department of Health and Human Services for collecting and reporting data on race, ethnicity, sex, primary language, and disability status.
The improved standards add seven Asian subgroups (Chinese, Filipino, Asian Indian, Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean and other Asian) and four Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander subgroups (Native Hawaiian, Guamanian or Chamorro, Samoan and other Pacific Islander). These are the same ethnic subgroup categories that are already being used for the Decennial Census and American Community Survey.
The proposed standards were required under Section 4302 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It directed the Secretary of HHS to ensure that any federally conducted or supported health care or public health program, activity or survey collects and reports data on race, ethnicity, sex, primary language and disability status. The draft also included new standards for collecting data on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) populations.
“The historic passage of healthcare reform has already begun to address some of our growing healthcare challenges, and these new standards are no different,” said CAPAC Chairwoman, Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-32). “They go a long way in unmasking the healthcare disparities that exist in the Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities. These communities and other underserved populations will soon have a more accurate picture of their health and well-being.
Chu said that a great example of why the reform is needed comes from breast cancer survivor Susan Shinigawa.
“When she found a lump in her breast, she went to see her doctor and was told that ‘Asian women don’t get breast cancer’,” said Chu. “The doctor advised against getting a biopsy because there was a lack of data linking breast cancer to Asian women. With these improved standards, I hope that others like Susan will not have their lives endangered by insufficient data.”
CAPAC Vice Chair, Guam Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo, said that to better address health disparities, during the 111th Congress she worked with colleagues in the Congressional Tri-Caucus to urge the Administration to improve data collection for minority populations.
“The proposed standards announced today are a result of these efforts, and I commend the Obama Administration for its work in addressing health disparities in the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities,” said Bordallo.
CAPAC Healthcare Taskforce Chair, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-9), said that improving data collection is a critical component of eliminating health disparities among Asian American and minority communities.
“Today’s announcement is especially encouraging as we work to preserve the gains and expand upon the notable improvements we have made with the passage of healthcare reform,” said Lee.