Thompson Announces New Board on Disparities in Health Care, Affirms Commitment to Issue
HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson on Monday announced the creation of the Health Disparities Council, a new board charged with developing a plan to eliminate quality gaps in health care, the AP/Las Vegas Sun reports. Speaking at a meeting of the Alliance of Minority Medical Associations and other health care groups, Thompson said that the Bush administration is "committed to eliminating disparities" in health care, adding that the administration is addressing racial disparities in health care through support for research targeted at minorities' health, providing more money for AIDS issues among minorities and increasing the number of community health centers in racial and ethnic minority neighborhoods (Sherman, AP/Las Vegas Sun, 4/19). HHS in February released the original version of a 2003 report on racial health disparities following complaints that an edited version downplayed serious issues. In a January letter to Thompson, eight Democratic lawmakers said that HHS "watered down" the report, alleging that the final version included revisions that "alter the report's meaning, undermine efforts to address disparities and fit a pattern of the manipulation of science by the Bush administration" (California Healthline, 2/24). MPR's "Marketplace Morning Report" on Monday reported on the start of the meeting. The segment includes comments from Dr. Gary Puckrein, program director of National Minority Health Month (Palmer, "Marketplace Morning Report," MPR, 4/19). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer. C-SPAN video of the panel discussion on minority health disparities legislation, as well as Thompson's address on minority health care quality, is available online in RealPlayer and Windows Media.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.