[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 126 (Thursday, June 30, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Pages 38396-38397]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-16435]


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DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES


Notice of Availability of Proposed Data Collection Standards for 
Race, Ethnicity, Primary Language, Sex, and Disability Status Required 
by Section 4302 of the Affordable Care Act

AGENCY: Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the 
Assistant Secretary for Health, Office of Minority Health.

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is seeking 
public comment on the proposed data collection standards for race, 
ethnicity, sex, primary language and disability status, as required by 
Section 4302 of the Affordable Care Act. The proposed data collection 
standards are now available on the HHS Web site minorityhealth.hhs.gov/section4302.

DATES: Submit comments on or before August 1, 2011.

Instructions for Submitting Comments

    You may submit comments, identified by docket ID number HHS-OMH-
2011-0013 by one of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Enter the above docket ID number in the ``Enter Keyword or ID'' field 
and click on ``Search.'' On the next web page, click on the ``Submit a 
Comment'' action and follow the instructions.
     Standard U.S. Mail: Office of Minority Health Resource 
Center, Attention: Affordable Care Act Section 4302 Data Standard 
Comments, P.O. Box 37337, Washington, DC 20013-73337. Mailed comments 
must be postmarked by July 27, 2011.
     Express or Overnight Mail/Courier: Office of Minority 
Health Resource Center, Attention: Affordable Care Act Section 4302 
Data Standard Comments, 1101 Wooton Parkway, Suite 650, Rockville, MD 
20852. For courier

[[Page 38397]]

delivery, please call (800) 444-6472 in advance to schedule delivery.
    The Office of Minority Health strongly encourages commenters to 
submit comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Comments received, 
including any personal information, will be posted without change to 
the docket at http://www.regulations.gov as they are submitted, usually 
within 1 week after submission. While the comment period remains open, 
individuals may also provide comments in response to already submitted 
comments that have been posted to the docket.
    The submission of comments in response to this notice should not 
exceed 5 pages, not including appendices and supplemental documents. 
Any information you submit will be made public. Consequently, do not 
send proprietary, commercial, financial, business confidential, trade 
secret, or personal information that you do not wish to be made public.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rochelle Rollins, PhD, MPH, Office of 
Minority Health, 1101 Wootton Parkway, Suite 600, Rockville, MD 20852; 
Phone (800) 444-6472; E-mail ACASection4302@hhs.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Introduction

    DHHS reports, dating back to the landmark 1985 Secretary's Task 
Force on Black and Minority Health, note the critical importance of 
rich data systems and culturally competent research to understand and 
reduce health disparities among population subgroups. Such disparities 
reflect the interactive effects of multiple social, economic, 
behavioral, and environmental determinants of health, including access 
to high quality health care services. Data improvement efforts enhance 
the ability of the public health and healthcare systems to identify and 
track disparities in health and health care, and facilitate greater 
accountability for reducing them. Although there have been government-
wide standards for the collection of race and ethnicity for many years, 
the lack of standards related to data collection on population 
subgroups defined by other characteristics--such as primary language 
and disability--remains a challenge for reporting and tracking data on 
health disparities.

Overview of Section 4302 of the Affordable Care Act

    The Affordable Care Act includes multiple provisions aimed at 
eliminating health disparities in America. Section 4302 (Understanding 
health disparities: Data collection and analysis) of the Affordable 
Care Act focuses on the standardization, collection, analysis, and 
reporting of health disparities data. While data alone will not reduce 
disparities, it can be foundational to our efforts to characterize the 
disparities, design effective responses, and evaluate our progress.
    Section 4302 begins by requiring the Secretary of DHHS to establish 
data collection standards for race, ethnicity, sex, primary language, 
and disability status. The law requires that, once established, these 
data collection standards be used, to the extent practicable, in HHS 
national population health surveys. The law also requires that any DHHS 
data standards be in compliance with standards created by the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB), such as those for race and ethnicity. As 
such, OMB's standards are not the subject of comment in this notice.
    The focus of this announcement is for data collection standards 
related to race, ethnicity, primary language, sex, and disability 
status, as outlined in Section 4302 of the Affordable Care Act. The law 
also requires that these data collection standards be used for the 
purposes of measuring quality and reporting for any federally 
sponsored, federally conducted, or supported health care or public 
health program, activity, or survey. Additional subsections of the law 
relate to data collection standards require the Department to develop 
data collection standards for access to care for persons with 
disabilities. The law also gives the Secretary the authority to require 
that additional demographic data be collected on all Departmental 
surveys and to develop appropriate data collection standards. The full 
text of Section 4302 of the Affordable Care Act can be found at 
minorityhealth.hhs.gov/section4302.

Implementation of Section 4302 of the Affordable Care Act

    The Department proposed data collection standards for race, 
ethnicity, sex, primary language and disability status were guided by 
existing federal data standards, the results of studies and public 
reports, consultation with statistical agencies and programs, and the 
expertise of subject matter experts who have leadership roles with 
collecting and analyzing this type of data. The focus was to develop 
data collection standards for race, ethnicity, sex, primary language 
and disability status that are appropriate for the purposes and methods 
of population health surveys for self-reported data.
    The proposed data collection standards and rationale are for race, 
ethnicity, primary language, sex, and disability status and pertain 
only to self-reported data. These proposed data collection standards 
represent the first round of implementation of Section 4302 of the 
Affordable Care Act related to race, ethnicity, sex, primary language 
and disability status. Implementation efforts related to additional 
subsections of Section 4302 of the Affordable Care Act continue.
    The Department is also in the process of developing and validating 
standard approaches for collecting data about sexual orientation and 
gender identity.
    With this notice, the Office of Minority Health requests comment 
from the public and interested stakeholders on the proposed data 
collection standards for race, ethnicity, sex, primary language, and 
disability status.
    The text of the proposed data standards is available in HTML and 
PDF formats through the Office of Minority Health Web site at 
minorityhealth.hhs.gov/section4302 and the http://www.regulations.gov, 
docket ID number HHS-OMH-2011-0013. The full text of Section 4302 of 
the Affordable Care Act can be found at minorityhealth.hhs.gov/section4302. For those who may not have Internet access, a hard copy 
can be requested from the point of contact, Rochelle Rollins, PhD, MPH, 
Office of the Minority Health, 1101 Wootton Parkway, Suite 600, 
Rockville, MD 20852; Phone (800) 444-6472; E-mail 
ACASection4302@hhs.gov.

    June 24, 2011.
Garth Graham,
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health, Office of Assistant 
Secretary for Health .
[FR Doc. 2011-16435 Filed 6-29-11; 8:45 am]
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