Daniel E. Dawes, J.D. is a health care attorney and consultant in Washington, DC. During health reform negotiations, he worked closely with the White House and Congress, and founded and chaired the National Working Group on Health Disparities and Health Reform – a group comprising over 250 national organizations and coalitions - to ensure that health reform legislation included health equity provisions to reduce disparities in health status and health care among vulnerable populations.
While the debates continue as to whether or not the Affordable Care Act (ACA) should be implemented, a key component of health reform that is often overlooked includes health equity and the elimination of disparities in health status and healthcare among vulnerable populations.
In the wake of health care reform, one of the key health equity issues that needs to be fully addressed is the collection and reporting of data on demographic variables for electronic health records (EHR), particularly for racial and ethnic minority groups. This is a critical issue because without comprehensive data, we are unable to accurately identify and track the disparities in health status and care among vulnerable populations.
The Department of Health and Human Services recently released a national roadmap to address and reduce disparities in health status and health care among racial and ethnic minorities. It also released a national strategy for engaging communities across the country to harness the collective power of collaboration in order to tackle these serious issues.