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CDC Vows to Address COVID-19 Disparities and Health Equity

July 29, 2020

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a strategy document pledging steps toward reducing COVID-19 disparities and achieving health equity.

The CDC’s strategy aims to improve not only the health outcomes of disproportionately affected populations, but to provide programs and practice activities to support health care workers in preventing transmission of COVID-19.

This process includes building on plans for better data to help severe outcomes by race and ethnicity as well as establishing special studies related to social determinants of health. The strategy for populations at increased risk for COVID-19 will include a focus on:

  • Increased testing
  • Contact tracing
  • Preventative care
  • Disease management

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the extreme health inequities among certain populations already at risk of poorer health outcomes due to economic or other challenges such as food insecurity or homelessness.

Here in Pennsylvania, reporting of demographical information, specifically race and ethnicity, remains a challenge. Health care practitioners and laboratories were notified in PA-HAN 495 of the need to include demographic variables. Subsequently, the Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Health issued a mandate for demographic collection and the Governor continues to call for better reporting to reduce health disparities. Additional information can be found within HAP’s reminder flyer available at HAP’s COVID-19 resource page.

HAP continues to work with hospitals across the state through regional initiatives to assist members with identifying the best approaches to population health through community health needs assessments, as well as the ongoing development of meaningful partnerships.

For more information about HAP’s population health efforts, contact Robert Shipp, III, HAP’s vice president, population health and clinical affairs.