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HHS Seeks Public Comment on Data Collection

Section 4302 of ACA requires data collection on race, ethnicity, sex, primary language and disability status beginning in 2012. HHS’s The Office of Minority Health is now seeking public comment on draft standards for this data collection. According to the National Health Law Program (NHeLP), HHS considered the following in developing these standards:

  • Standards would be evidence-based and demonstrated to have worked well in practice for national survey data collection.
  • Standards would represent a minimum data standard, with agencies permitted to collect as much additional detail as desired, provided that the additional detail could be aggregated back to the minimum standard.
  • Standards mandated by Office of Management and Budget would serve as the starting point for any data standard.
  • Standards would be for population surveys in which person-level data is collected via self-reporting or from a respondent who serves as a knowledgeable household representative.

Public comments on the proposed regulations are due by August 1, 2011. The draft regulations are available at www.regulations.gov under docket number HHS-OMH-2011-0013.

According to the HHS announcement, the law 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.” The data will be used to reduce health disparities.