The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced $150 million in awards to support 236 new community health center sites across the country. These new centers will provide much needed health care to approximately 1.25 million Americans. This investment was made possible by the Community Health Center Fund, which was established by the Affordable Care Act.
The New and Enhanced Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) Standards Will Help Eliminate Disparities in Health and Health Care
This April, the Office of Minority Health at the Department of Health and Human Services released the enhanced National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) in Health and Health Care. With implementation of the Affordable Care Act in full swing and growing interest in improving the delivery of care and addressing health care costs, these standards will serve as a critical guide to developing policies and strategies that improve the quality of health care services and meet the needs of an increasingly diverse population.
A few years ago, a handful of advocates might have gathered together to discuss the issue of health equity and best practices for engaging communities of color in policy campaigns. A few weeks ago at the Health Action conference hosted by Families USA, we packed a room with advocates, foundation staff and state officials from across the country who were eager to discuss this issue and go a step further to discuss meaningful engagement of communities of color in policy change.
The budget fight is sure to heat up in the next couple of months in what seems like a never-ending battle between the President and Congress. So what’s at stake? Many lawmakers want to see large cuts to a range of health care programs—many of which reduce health disparities and provide vital services to millions of people of color. Such cuts would exact a heavy toll on the health of communities of color and only worsen racial inequities in health.