Section 4302(a) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA, P.L. 111-148, as amended) requires the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop data collection standards for five demographic categories: race, ethnicity, sex, primary language, and disability status. In November 2014, HHS released a report to Congress on Improving the Identification of Health Care Disparities in Medicaid and CHIP.
MACPAC is required by statute to review HHS reports to Congress and provide comments to Congress and the Secretary within six months of the date the report is issued. In its April 2015 comment letter, the Commission commends HHS on its efforts to include new data collection standards in relevant surveys, and more broadly, to improve the quality and availability of federal data that could be used to better understand disparities affecting Medicaid and CHIP enrollees.
MACPAC also expresses continuing concerns about the timeliness, quality, and availability of administrative data reported to the federal government and the fact that data collection on quality measures remains voluntary. Finally, while the Commission recognizes that many important demographic characteristics might be useful in examining different aspects of Medicaid and CHIP, given resource limitations it encourages HHS to focus its efforts on the data elements that will be used for program management and policy development.
Publication Type: Comment Letters