On October 31, 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the final data collection standards for race, ethnicity, primary language, sex, and disability status that will apply to HHS-sponsored health surveys. These standards are required by Section 4302 of the Affordable Care Act. Learn more about ACA Section 4302 on the HHS Office of Minority Health website.
Section 4302 of the Affordable Care Act is relevant to understanding and responding to racial and ethnic health disparities. Refugees are at risk of disparities in disease burden and accessing care. Identifying these disparities and effectively targeting and monitoring efforts to reduce them has been challenging due to the lack of specificity, uniformity, and quality in data collection and reporting procedures.
In addition to race and ethnicity, language and disability status data standards are defined. Language spoken is measured by English proficiency and language spoken at home, consistent with the American Community Survey. The disability status standard includes six questions to characterize functional disability. Together, the new data standards will enable characterization and comparison of health problems in underserved populations.