With a multicultural workforce, hospitals are well-positioned to play a central role in eliminating healthcare disparities, but have yet to be represented on a committee overseeing a new partnership devoted to the issue.
Last week , HHS Office of Minority Health and the National Business Group on Health said they would jointly invest $300,000 for a two-year collaborative effort to reduce racial and ethnic inequalities in healthcare. Part of the National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparitiesa broader effort by HHS and the Office of Minority Health to spotlight the problemthe new collaboration could benefit from hospital participation, according to Helen Darling, president of the National Business Group on Health.
The work is hard, and, for a lot of people, the pay is low, Darling said of the working environment in U.S. hospitals. We also know there are a lot of minorities and a lot of immigrants working in hospitals. ... Figuring out how to provide services and programs is really complicated.
But this also means that hospitals would have something considerable to contribute on the advisory committee for the new collaborative. For now, though, hospitals are not represented on the committee, which is led by Audrietta Izlar, manager of corporate benefits at Verizon Communications. The committeewhich is still being formedalso includes representatives from insurer Aetna, manufacturer Pfizer, hotel company Marriott International, and academic and research institutions such as Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Institute of Medicine. Its responsibilities will include overseeing the National Business Group on Healths plans to update its analysis of the business case for addressing health disparities, as well as identifying best practices for the business community in addressing racial and ethnic disparities among their workforces.
Darling emphasized the need for hospitals to become involved. They probably have the most diverse workforces in the country, Darling said. What wed like to do is work together as quickly as possible and share the results together.