CDC Declares Racism a Public Health Threat 

The CDC stance finally affirms how serious a threat racism is for population health.  

The date of April 8 is important in my world: not only is it my beloved grandmother’s birthday (for the record, she would have been 121 last week), but it’s also the date in 1974 when Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run in Atlanta, breaking Babe Ruth’s record.

However, for our purposes, the date will now be etched in healthcare history as when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) took long-needed action to declare “racism a series public health threat,” and one that directly affects the well-being of far too many people.

Over this past year, fierce societal narratives have focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, social and racial inequities, and how these inequities impact community health and wellness. Longstanding structural barriers have created challenges in terms of access to, affordability of, and attainment of necessary health and mental healthcare across marginalized populations that span urban, suburban, and rural regions. The American Public Health Association (APHA) has been on the forefront of the efforts to declare racism the public health crisis it is. Some 32 states, plus the District of Columbia and over 1,000 counties, currently have formal declarations in place; an interactive map exists on the APHA website for those interested in digging deeper.

Most of the industry’s professional associations have acknowledged the presence of racism and xenophobia, fiercely condemning them, including the American Academy of Family Physicians,  American Medical Association, American Hospital Association, American Nurses Association, the National Association of Social Workers, and Case Management Society of America, to name a few.

The CDC’s strategic action plan has been applauded, and it encompasses:

  • Studying the impact of the social determinants of health (SDoH) outcomes, expanding collection of evidence on how racism affects health, plus proposing and implementing solutions to address the challenges;
  • Leveraging COVID-19 funding to make new and expanded investments in racial and ethnic minority communities and other disproportionately affected communities around the country. Strategic efforts are also underway to establish a durable infrastructure that will provide both foundation and resources to address disparities specific to COVID-19, as well as other health conditions. The data remains consistent that racial and ethnic minority groups have a far higher incidence of chronic illness morbidity and mortality across disease states;
  • Expanding internal agency efforts to foster greater diversity and create an inclusive and affirming environment for all; and
  • Launching of a new web portal, “Racism and Health,”  that will serve as a catalyst for public and scientific discourse around racism and health.

The CDC’s messaging is direct. No formal statement alone will eliminate racism from society, though consistent and strategic actions are an asset. The CDC stance finally affirms how serious a threat racism is for population health, with ample literature to validate this reality. Access to the full statement appears on the CDC Newsroom page.

This week’s poll asked our Monitor Mondays listeners how much they felt the CDC’s Racism Declaration would impact SDoH funding and reimbursement. The majority of listeners (over 70 percent) chose the “too soon to tell” option, the choice I would have selected as well. The industry will be waiting and watching how the CDC’s strategic plan, actions, and outcomes evolve over time.

Programming Note: Listen to Ellen Fink-Samnick’s live reporting of the social determinants of health (SDoH) every Monday during Monitor Mondays, 10 a.m. Eastern.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

Ellen Fink-Samnick, MSW, ACSW, LCSW, CCM, CRP

Ellen Fink-Samnick is an award-winning healthcare industry expert. She is the esteemed author of books, articles, white papers, and knowledge products. A subject matter expert on the Social Determinants of Health, her latest books, The Essential Guide to Interprofessional Ethics for Healthcare Case Management and Social Determinants of Health: Case Management’s Next Frontier (with foreword by Dr. Ronald Hirsch), are published through HCPro. She is a panelist on Monitor Mondays, frequent contributor to Talk Ten Tuesdays, and member of the RACmonitor Editorial Board.

Related Stories

Leave a Reply

Please log in to your account to comment on this article.

Featured Webcasts

The Inpatient Admission Order: Master the Who, When, and How

The Inpatient Admission Order: Master the Who, When, and How

During this webcast Dr. Ronald Hirsch delves into the inpatient admission order process including when to get it, when it becomes effective, its impact on billing and payment, who can write it, how to cancel it, the effects on the beneficiary, and more. You’ll leave with a clear understanding of inpatient orders and guidelines for handling improper orders that you can implement immediately.

June 20, 2024
Navigating AI in Healthcare Revenue Cycle: Maximizing Efficiency, Minimizing Risks

Navigating AI in Healthcare Revenue Cycle: Maximizing Efficiency, Minimizing Risks

Michelle Wieczorek explores challenges, strategies, and best practices to AI implementation and ongoing monitoring in the middle revenue cycle through real-world use cases. She addresses critical issues such as the validation of AI algorithms, the importance of human validation in machine learning, and the delineation of responsibilities between buyers and vendors.

May 21, 2024
Leveraging the CERT: A New Coding and Billing Risk Assessment Plan

Leveraging the CERT: A New Coding and Billing Risk Assessment Plan

Frank Cohen shows you how to leverage the Comprehensive Error Rate Testing Program (CERT) to create your own internal coding and billing risk assessment plan, including granular identification of risk areas and prioritizing audit tasks and functions resulting in decreased claim submission errors, reduced risk of audit-related damages, and a smoother, more efficient reimbursement process from Medicare.

April 9, 2024
2024 Observation Services Billing: How to Get It Right

2024 Observation Services Billing: How to Get It Right

Dr. Ronald Hirsch presents an essential “A to Z” review of Observation, including proper use for Medicare, Medicare Advantage, and commercial payers. He addresses the correct use of Observation in medical patients and surgical patients, and how to deal with the billing of unnecessary Observation services, professional fee billing, and more.

March 21, 2024
Comprehensive Inpatient Clinical Documentation Integrity: From Foundations to Advanced Strategies

Comprehensive Inpatient Clinical Documentation Integrity: From Foundations to Advanced Strategies

Optimize your inpatient clinical documentation and gain comprehensive knowledge from foundational practices to advanced technologies, ensuring improved patient care and organizational and financial success. This webcast bundle provides a holistic approach to CDI, empowering you to implement best practices from the ground up and leverage advanced strategies for superior results. Participants will gain actionable insights to improve documentation quality, patient care, compliance, and financial outcomes.

June 26, 2024
Advanced Inpatient Clinical Documentation Integrity: Harnessing Technology, Analytics, and Compliance

Advanced Inpatient Clinical Documentation Integrity: Harnessing Technology, Analytics, and Compliance

Join expert Angela Comfort, MBA, RHIA, CDIP, CCS, CCS-P., as she helps you navigate advanced inpatient CDI technologies, regulatory changes, and system interoperability. Angela will provide actionable strategies for integrating AI and predictive analytics into CDI practices, ensuring seamless system interoperability, and maintaining compliance with evolving regulations. Attendees will learn to select and implement advanced EHR systems and CDI software, leverage data analytics to enhance documentation accuracy, and stay audit-ready with the latest compliance updates. Real-world case studies and practical tools will empower you to drive continuous improvement in CDI, improve patient outcomes, and enhance organizational efficiency. Don’t miss this opportunity to advance your CDI practices and stay ahead in this dynamic field.

July 11, 2024
Foundations of Inpatient Clinical Documentation Integrity: Enhancing Accuracy and Compliance

Foundations of Inpatient Clinical Documentation Integrity: Enhancing Accuracy and Compliance

Join expert Angela Comfort, MBA, RHIA, CDIP, CCS, CCS-P, for an insightful webcast on improving inpatient clinical documentation integrity (CDI). Inaccurate documentation can lead to misdiagnosis, improper treatment, and compromised patient safety. High workloads, lack of standardized practices, and outdated EHR systems contribute to these issues, affecting care quality and financial outcomes. Angela will offer practical strategies and tools to enhance accuracy, consistency, and timeliness in documentation. Attendees will learn to use standardized templates, checklists, and advanced EHR systems, while staying compliant with regulations. Improve patient care, ensure accurate billing, and reduce audit risks with actionable insights from this essential webcast.

June 26, 2024
Mastering E/M Coding: Navigating the Evolving Landscape

Mastering E/M Coding: Navigating the Evolving Landscape

Join industry expert, Kathy Pride, RHIT, CPC, CPMA, CCS-P, for an in-depth exploration of Evaluation and Management (E/M) coding, tailored for healthcare professionals navigating recent guideline changes. Dive into advanced topics beyond mere code selection, including shared visits, criteria for selecting E/M levels, and documentation best practices. Gain clarity on complex guideline terminology and ensure compliance with regulatory standards. This comprehensive session is essential for coders, auditors, educators, and practitioners seeking to enhance their proficiency in E/M coding and maximize revenue capture.

June 19, 2024

Trending News

Happy National Doctor’s Day! Learn how to get a complimentary webcast on ‘Decoding Social Admissions’ as a token of our heartfelt appreciation! Click here to learn more →

Honor Memorial Day with Savings! Get 20% off all items using code MEMORIAL24 at checkout. Shop today and save! Offer valid until May 31. Exclusions apply.

Happy World Health Day! Our exclusive webcast, ‘2024 SDoH Update: Navigating Coding and Screening Assessment,’  is just $99 for a limited time! Use code WorldHealth24 at checkout.