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Health Disparities a Costly but Treatable Issue
Date:6/23/2008

National Hispanic Medical Association to Showcase Economic Benefits of Health Care Reform at Congressional Briefing June 24

WASHINGTON, June 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Amid skyrocketing gas and food prices, there is one cost Americans can help rein in - the rising costs fueled by health disparities, so says the National Hispanic Medical Association in a congressional briefing Tuesday, June 24.

That's the issue top leaders will discuss when the National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA) and the Racial/Ethnic Health Disparities Coalition (REHDC) present a congressional briefing on "Health Disparities and the Economy: The Key to Reducing Costs in America."

The event, sponsored by The California Endowment and Pfizer, will be June 24, from noon to 2 p.m. at the Senate Hart Building, 9th Floor, Room SH-902, Corner of C and 2nd St., Washington, DC.

"Despite all the worsening economic news we are hearing - from the housing slump, to gas surpassing $4 a gallon, there is some light. We do not have to face a darker economic outlook in health care if we properly address health disparities. That's a cost we can and should control," said Dr. Elena Rios, MD, MSPH, president and CEO of NHMA, a nonprofit group based in Washington, DC, that represents Hispanic physicians in the U.S.

The congressional briefing will showcase national health care reform efforts, focusing on HR 3014 the "Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2007." The bill, sponsored by Rep. Hilda Solis (D-CA), directs federal health agencies to implement a strategic plan to eliminate disparities and improve the health and health care of minority populations.

"Communities of color continue to face numerous barriers when seeking medical care, and the Health Equity and Accountability Act is a major step in the right direction. It will help remove many barriers to care and addresses the need to keep pace with our country's changing demographics," said Solis.

Invited attendees include Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (IL); Rep. John Dingell (MI), chair, Committee on Energy and Commerce; Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (NJ), chair, health subcommittee overseeing public health; Rep. Donna Christensen (VI), chair, Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust; Solis, chair, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Task Force on Health and the Environment; Rep. Madeleine Bordallo (GU), chair, Congressional Asian, Pacific American Caucus Healthcare Task Force; Nelson Adams, MD, president, National Medical Association; and Nancy Nielsen, MD, PhD, president, American Medical Association.

In addition to NHMA, presidents of other minority health groups invited include Gerald Hill, MD, Association of American Indian Physicians; Ho Tran, MD, MPH, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum; Maria Villot (Tere), BSN, RN, National Association of Hispanic Nurses; and Debra Toney, PhD, RN, MS, National Black Nurses Association.

Said Rios, "With health care reform on the horizon, our leaders in Congress need to act now and pass HB 3014 and Rep. Jackson's initiative - for the betterment of all our communities."

Information: http://www.nhmamd.org.


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SOURCE National Hispanic Medical Association
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