March 12, 2007
Race, Ethnicity Data Now Collected at Healthcare Registration
The Federal Office of Management and Budget now requires organizations that receive federal funds to begin collecting race and ethnicity data on all patients. This practice was officially launched in Maine on March 1. The purpose of collecting this information is to help track how diseases are linked to various races and ethnic groups and to eventually put this data to good use.
“This type of tracking may lead us to developing early prevention practices, to planning specific programs and also, may impact the allocation of funds and the changes in policies surrounding particular health conditions,’’ said Dr. Dora Anne Mills, MPH, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
When a patient registers at the facility, he/she should expect to answer what race and ethnicity they identify with. This will add seconds to the registration process, but the information may prove invaluable.
“The ultimate goal is to improve the overall health of racial and ethnic minorities by gathering this data,” Mills said. “This seems to be a very small investment of time with the potential of a significant return.”
For more information on this new program visit http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/boh/minority_health/