In order for CPEHN and other health advocates to promote policies that effectively reduce disparities, we need as much information about our communities’ needs as we can get. Unfortunately, we often lack the data to really illustrate disparities within racial and ethnic groups, which is why collection of disaggregated data in the health care system is one of CPEHN’s policy priorities.
Asian and Pacific Islander (API) communities, especially, are extremely diverse and each population has different experiences and needs. To get an idea of how some of these API communities have fared since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the National Council of Asian Pacific Islander Physicians, led by former CPEHN Board member and former President/CEO of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum Ho Luong Tran, M.D., M.P.H., has issued a detailed report, The Impact of the Affordable Care Act on Asian Indian, Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Pakistani, & Vietnamese Americans. This report looks at both access to care and some key social determinants of health (including income and education) at the national level to get a better understanding of disparities within these ethnic subgroups. Since California has the largest population of most of these API subgroups, and roughly one-third of the nation’s total API population, the report also includes statewide data to help us promote health equity in our state.
A bill that will help Californians better understand their medication is making its way through the legislature. AB 1073, authored by Assemblymember Phil Ting, would increase access to translated prescription drug labels. Specifically, AB 1073 would require the California Board of Pharmacy to post on its website translated standardized directions for use in at least five languages other than English (Chinese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese). It would also require pharmacists to provide these translated directions for their Limited English Proficient patients.
"We know from research that patients can often misunderstand the prescription medication information, and for limited English proficient patients, these misunderstandings can be much more severe and much more frustrating," says Kimberly Chen of the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, a supporter of the bill.
"By ensuring that they have access to medical information, it will help reduce medical errors, and ensure that patients are complying with their prescription information. It ultimately helps meet the needs of Californians."