The Office of State Representative Jeffrey Sánchez
Phone: (617) 722-2430 | Fax: (617) 722-2346
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 13, 2017
ADVOCATES RALLY AROUND SANCHEZ HEALTH DISPARITIES BILL
Coalition Shows Support for Health Care Financing Committee Chairman Sánchez’ bill, An Act to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities in the Commonwealth
BOSTON— A diverse coalition of community advocates, health care professionals and public officials appeared before the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing today in a show of support for legislation which seeks to address racial and ethnic health disparities by establishing an state Office of Health Equity.
The bill, sponsored by the House Chair of the Committee on Health Care Financing, Representative Jeffrey Sánchez, would task the Office of Health Equity with: coordinating the various state policies to address health disparities; evaluating the effectiveness of policies; and setting state goals and reporting annually on progress made towards reducing health disparities in the Commonwealth.
“Even with all of our successes in health care reform, focused on access, affordability and quality, there remain pervasive and persistent racial and ethnic disparities in health care status and outcomes,” Sánchez said.
Studies have shown that socio-economic, behavioral, and environmental factors account for 80% of overall health status. Social factors, such as income, housing, and education are the greatest determinants of individual health. “While we have made some progress with initiatives to address these factors, these efforts tend to lack coordination and long-term planning. A dedicated Office of Health Equity can provide a framework for coordinating these existing programs and optimize our efforts across multiple agencies,” Sánchez explained.
This legislation was filed in response to recommendations from the 2007 Commission to End Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, which was tasked with examining state and national data on ethnic and racial health disparities and evaluating current public and private programs and policies. A key recommendation of the Commission was the establishment of a state office to support a sustained effort to eliminate ethnic and racial health disparities and coordinate public and private actions to address the social determinants of health.
Organizations that offered testimony in support today include: Boston Public Health Commission; Cambridge Health Alliance; Disparities Action Network; Cancer Action Network; Asian Women for Health; Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers; Massachusetts Community Action Network; Healthcare for All; Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association; Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts; Massachusetts Public Health Association; ACT!! Coalition; Better Oral Health Massachusetts Coalition; Medical Legal Partnerships Boston and Providence; Southeast Asian Coalition of Central Massachusetts; American Heart / Stroke Association; National Multiple Sclerosis Society – Greater New England Chapter; American Lung Association of Massachusetts.