News & Announcements

National Quality Forum Endorses Healthcare Disparities and Cultural Competency Measures

Posted: August 27, 2012

The National Quality Forum (NQF) Board of Directors has endorsed 12 quality measures focused on healthcare disparities and culturally competent care for racial and ethnic minority populations. “Accurate and meaningful metrics to measure care quality for populations adversely affected by disparities are critically needed,” said Laura J. Miller, FACHE, interim CEO of NQF. “These endorsed measures will be instrumental in promoting equitable, high-quality, and compassionate care for all populations across the healthcare delivery system.” 

These measures are the first endorsed by NQF that specifically address healthcare disparities and cultural competency. A commissioned paper on measurement concepts for healthcare disparities, completed in September 2011, served as the foundation for measure development in the field. In all, 16 measures were evaluated against NQF’s endorsement criteria, with 12 receiving endorsement status.

NQF is a voluntary consensus standards-setting organization. Any party may request reconsideration of any of the 12 endorsed quality measures listed below by submitting an appeal no later than September 10 (to submit an appeal, go to the NQF Measure Database). For an appeal to be considered, the notification must include information clearly demonstrating that the appellant has interests directly and materially affected by the NQF-endorsed recommendations and that the NQF decision has had (or will have) an adverse effect on those interests.

Endorsed Measures

  • 1888: Workforce development measure derived from the workforce development domain of the Communication Climate Assessment Toolkit (CCAT) (American Medical Association)
  • 1901: Performance evaluation measure derived from the performance evaluation domain of the Communication Climate Assessment Toolkit (CCAT) (American Medical Association)
  • 1905 Leadership commitment measure derived from the leadership commitment domain of the Communication Climate Assessment Toolkit (CCAT) (American Medical Association)
  • 1892: Individual engagement measure derived from the individual engagement domain of CCAT (American Medical Association)
  • 1894: Cross-cultural communication measure derived from the cross-cultural communication domain of the CCAT (American Medical Association)
  • 1896: Language services measure derived from the language services domain of CCAT (American Medical Association)
  • 1898: Health literacy measure derived from the health literacy domain of CCAT (American Medical Association)
  • 1902: Clinicians/Groups’ Health Literacy Practices Based on the CAHPS® Item Set for Addressing Health Literacy (AHRQ)
  • 1904: Clinician/Group’s Cultural Competence Based on the CAHPS® Cultural Competence Item Set (AHRQ)
  • 1821: L2: Patients receiving language services supported by qualified language services providers (Department of Health Policy, The George Washington University)
  • 1824: L1A: Screening for preferred spoken language for health care (Department of Health Policy, The George Washington University)
  • 1919: Cultural Competency Implementation Measure (RAND)

All CAHPS surveys are in the public domain, which means that anyone can download and use these surveys to assess experiences with care. Learn more about and access the CAHPS Cultural Competence Item Set, and the CAHPS Item Set for Addressing Health Literacy.

Read the complete press releaseDownload the Commissioned Paper: Healthcare Disparities Measurement (pdf). Access the NQF Measure Database.



Rural Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions More Likely to be Referred by Criminal Justice System

Posted: August 25, 2012

A new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found significant differences in demographics and abuse patterns of substance abuse treatment admissions in rural versus urban communities. The survey report, A Comparison of Rural and Urban Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions, was based on findings from SAMHSA’s Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) for 2009.

The report found that rural and urban substance abuse treatment admissions in 2009 differed by nearly every aspect examined. For example, in 2009 rural substance abuse treatment admissions were more likely than urban admissions to be referrals from the criminal justice system (51.6 versus 28.4 percent) and less likely to be self-referrals or referrals from family members or friends (22.8 versus 38.7 percent). In addition, rural admissions were more likely than urban admissions to report primary abuse of alcohol (49.5 versus 36.1 percent) or non-heroin opiates (10.6 versus 4.0 percent), while urban admissions were more likely than rural admissions to report primary abuse of heroin (21.8 versus 3.1 percent) or cocaine (11.9 versus 5.6 percent). Rural admissions were significantly less likely than urban admissions to report daily use of their primary substance (23.5 versus 43.1 percent), and more likely to have first used that substance prior to turning 18 (32.1 versus 26.7 percent).

In terms of demographics, rural admissions were younger than urban admissions, less racially and ethnically diverse, and more likely to be employed (18 or older) full or part-time.

 “There is a real need in this country for substance abuse prevention and treatment in both rural and urban areas. This report underscores that need,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde. “It’s a tool that policymakers and treatment providers can use to more effectively meet the substance abuse prevention and treatment needs of the communities they serve.”

Read more on the SAMHSA website. Read the full report.



Behind Mental Health Stigmas In Black Communities

Posted: August 23, 2012

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.'s recent diagnosis of bipolar disorder has focused attention on the shame that sometimes accompanies mental health diagnoses in the African-American community. NPR's John Donvan interviewed Psychiatrist William Lawson to discuss why such a stigma exists. An excerpt from the interview:

DONVAN: So what are some of the factors that lead African-American men to be less likely to be getting treatment? Is it that they're less likely to seek it, or is it less available to them?

LAWSON: Unfortunately, it's all of the above. Dr. Satcher in his surgeon general's report noted that there was less accessibility of mental health services for people of color for a variety of reasons. Part of it is that many of the systems simply aren't located proximity to where people of color are. Part of it is that many professionals simply don't know how to diagnose properly African-Americans.

Many African-Americans have a lot of negative feelings about, or not even aware of mental health services. They may not be aware of the symptoms of many mental disorders, or they may believe that to be mentally ill is a sign of weakness or a sign of a character fault.

Read the complete interview on the NPR website. Listen to the interview.



HIV/AIDS Inequality: Structural Barriers to Prevention, Treatment, and Care in Communities of Color

Posted: August 22, 2012

This brief, HIV/AIDS Inequality: Structural Barriers to Prevention, Treatment, and Care in Communities of Color. Why We Need A Holistic Approach to Eliminate Racial Disparities in HIV/AIDS, highlights underexplored explanations for the disparities that exist and outlines possible solutions to begin addressing them.

For the first time in more than two decades the International AIDS Conference returned to the United States and more than 20,000 delegates from nearly 200 countries discussed a wide array of HIV/AIDS related issues in Washington D.C., including the troubling racial disparities of our domestic HIV epidemic, specifically:

  • African Americans, who make up only 14 percent of the U.S. population, make up 44 percent of the HIV-positive population.
  • Latinos face three times the HIV infection rates as whites.
  • Men who have sex with men represent 2 percent of the U.S. population but account for 61 percent of all new HIV infections.

The high rates of HIV/AIDS we see among communities of color are not the result of high-risk behavior in these communities, but structural inequalities that make them more likely to come in contact with the disease and less likely to treat it. Addressing the structural forces that shape the spread of infectious disease—or what the World Health Organization has termed “the social determinants of health”—represents a fundamental and necessary shift from the historic approach to the domestic HIV/ AIDS epidemic.

Read more on the Center for American Progress website. Download this brief (pdf). Read this brief in your web browser (Scribd).



Spanish Language Fotonovela for Families Explains Promotoras

Posted: August 21, 2012

The Latino Leadership Council, working with Placer County, recently produced a fotonovela in English and Spanish that addresses some of the issues they often see with the families with whom they work. The fotonovela addresses problems at school, between spouses and between parents and kids. It also educates the reader about how promotoras and promotores can help with these issues and about resources available in the community.

Download the fotonovela in Spanish (pdf). Download the fotonovela in English (pdf).

Read more on the Children's Mental Health Network website.



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