42 USC 299a1 - Research on health disparities

(a) In general 
The Director shall
(1) conduct and support research to identify populations for which there is a significant disparity in the quality, outcomes, cost, or use of health care services or access to and satisfaction with such services, as compared to the general population;
(2) conduct and support research on the causes of and barriers to reducing the health disparities identified in paragraph (1), taking into account such factors as socioeconomic status, attitudes toward health, the language spoken, the extent of formal education, the area or community in which the population resides, and other factors the Director determines to be appropriate;
(3) conduct and support research and support demonstration projects to identify, test, and evaluate strategies for reducing or eliminating health disparities, including development or identification of effective service delivery models, and disseminate effective strategies and models;

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(4) develop measures and tools for the assessment and improvement of the outcomes, quality, and appropriateness of health care services provided to health disparity populations;
(5) in carrying out section 299a (c) of this title, provide support to increase the number of researchers who are members of health disparity populations, and the health services research capacity of institutions that train such researchers; and
(6) beginning with fiscal year 2003, annually submit to the Congress a report regarding prevailing disparities in health care delivery as it relates to racial factors and socioeconomic factors in priority populations.
(b) Research and demonstration projects 

(1) In general 
In carrying out subsection (a) of this section, the Director shall conduct and support research and support demonstrations to
(A) identify the clinical, cultural, socioeconomic, geographic, and organizational factors that contribute to health disparities, including minority health disparity populations, which research shall include behavioral research, such as examination of patterns of clinical decisionmaking, and research on access, outreach, and the availability of related support services (such as cultural and linguistic services);
(B) identify and evaluate clinical and organizational strategies to improve the quality, outcomes, and access to care for health disparity populations, including minority health disparity populations;
(C) test such strategies and widely disseminate those strategies for which there is scientific evidence of effectiveness; and
(D) determine the most effective approaches for disseminating research findings to health disparity populations, including minority populations.
(2) Use of certain strategies 
In carrying out this section, the Director shall implement research strategies and mechanisms that will enhance the involvement of individuals who are members of minority health disparity populations or other health disparity populations, health services researchers who are such individuals, institutions that train such individuals as researchers, members of minority health disparity populations or other health disparity populations for whom the Agency is attempting to improve the quality and outcomes of care, and representatives of appropriate tribal or other community-based organizations with respect to health disparity populations. Such research strategies and mechanisms may include the use of

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(A) centers of excellence that can demonstrate, either individually or through consortia, a combination of multi-disciplinary expertise in outcomes or quality improvement research, linkages to relevant sites of care, and a demonstrated capacity to involve members and communities of health disparity populations, including minority health disparity populations, in the planning, conduct, dissemination, and translation of research;
(B) provider-based research networks, including health plans, facilities, or delivery system sites of care (especially primary care), that make extensive use of health care providers who are members of health disparity populations or who serve patients in such populations and have the capacity to evaluate and promote quality improvement;
(C) service delivery models (such as health centers under section 254b of this title and the Indian Health Service) to reduce health disparities; and
(D) innovative mechanisms or strategies that will facilitate the translation of past research investments into clinical practices that can reasonably be expected to benefit these populations.
(c) Quality measurement development 

(1) In general 
To ensure that health disparity populations, including minority health disparity populations, benefit from the progress made in the ability of individuals to measure the quality of health care delivery, the Director shall support the development of quality of health care measures that assess the experience of such populations with health care systems, such as measures that assess the access of such populations to health care, the cultural competence of the care provided, the quality of the care provided, the outcomes of care, or other aspects of health care practice that the Director determines to be important.
(2) Examination of certain practices 
The Director shall examine the practices of providers that have a record of reducing health disparities or have experience in providing culturally competent health services to minority health disparity populations or other health disparity populations. In examining such practices of providers funded under the authorities of this chapter, the Director shall consult with the heads of the relevant agencies of the Public Health Service.
(3) Report 
Not later than 36 months after November 22, 2000, the Secretary, acting through the Director, shall prepare and submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report describing the state-of-the-art of quality measurement for minority and other health disparity populations that will identify critical unmet needs, the current activities of the Department to address those needs, and a description of related activities in the private sector.
(d) Definition 
For purposes of this section:
(1) The term health disparity population has the meaning given such term in section 287c–31 of this title, except that in addition to the meaning so given, the Director may determine that such term includes populations for which there is a significant disparity in the quality, outcomes, cost, or use of health care services or access to or satisfaction with such services as compared to the general population.
(2) The term minority, with respect to populations, refers to racial and ethnic minority groups as defined in section 300u–6 of this title.