NEW YORK, -- Reverend Al Sharpton, President of National Action Network, Former Congressman J.C. Watts, and Dr. Gary A. Puckrein, President of the National Minority Quality Forum, called a press conference at the Boriken Neighborhood Health Center in New York City to focus a spotlight on the need for health care reform that eliminates inequities in health care quality and access for America's emerging majority.
Reverend Sharpton has been very vocal about the need for equal access to health care and said: "I am hopeful that the unique alliance between me, J.C. Watts, and Dr. Puckrein will send a signal that we must unite across all party lines and in a non-partisan way because communities of color are being marginalized by the current health care system. There must be equal access to health care and a system must be implemented that seeks to be inclusive to the new majority of Americans."
The United States Census Bureau projects that no later than the year 2020, approximately 40% of the U.S. population will be composed, collectively, of racial/ethnic population groups that are currently classified as "minorities;" by 2050, these groups will constitute an estimated 54% of the population. The treatment of emerging populations by the U.S. health care system can no longer be ignored or delayed. Given the length of time required to create new evidence and to incorporate that new evidence into new and innovative treatment protocols, pharmaceuticals, and medical technologies/devices, an immediate paradigm shift is imperative.
"I truly applaud Dr. Puckrein and the National Minority Quality Forum who have been in the trenches on minority health care disparities for many years," said J.C. Watts. "I am delighted to have the opportunity to join forces with The Forum and the National Action Network to encourage Congress to oppose any cuts to Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments in the final version of health care reform legislation unless the cuts are tied to significant reductions in a state's uninsured populations."
"When national health policy has been deliberated, the implications for America's emerging majority have been largely ignored," said Dr. Puckrein. "The legacy of this inattention is a health care system that is unable to meet the needs of the diverse American population. The evidence of this inattention is rife in scientific research that is skewed toward a diminishing majority, in quality metrics that ignore patient variability, in health care policies that promote inequalities, in differences in reimbursement that systemically under compensates providers who treat emerging populations, in a lack of cultural and linguistic competency, and in poor health outcomes and medical errors for an increasing number of Americans."
About National Action Network:
Founded in 1991 by Reverend Al Sharpton, National Action Network (NAN) is one of the leading Civil Rights organizations in the nation with over 45 chapters within the United States. NAN works extensively to promote a modern Civil Rights agenda which includes a standard of decency for all people regardless of race or sex, social justice for all communities, and improvement of race relations. Through the years NAN has served as a megaphone for the voiceless and an advocate for those in need. NAN is currently in the forefront of advocacy relating to issues around education reform, health disparities, anti-violence and community relations. www.nationalactionnetwork.net
About J.C. Watts: J.C. Watts Jr. is Chairman of the J.C. Watts Companies which is a diverse, multi-industry company based in Washington, D.C. It works with Fortune 500, medium, and small businesses, professional associations, athletic organizations, colleges and universities, health care providers, governments, and non-profits. It is a certified Minority Business Enterprise by the National Minority Supplier Development Council. Its chairman, J.C. Watts, Jr., served eight years in the U.S. Congress as a representative from Oklahoma.
About the National Minority Quality Forum:
Founded as a nonprofit organization in 1998, The Forum improves the quality of health care available for and provided to America's diverse populations by assuring that national and local quality improvement initiatives are informed by scientific evidence, the principles of public health and social justice, and effective methods to contain costs that place a priority on the quality of care and patient outcomes in all populations. www.nmqf.org
SOURCE National Minority Quality Forum