Facing racial disparities in Illinois health care

click to enlarge

Photo courtesy blueroomstream.com

Elissa Bassler of the Public Health Institute testifies virtually Monday before the Senate Health and Human Services and Public Health committees about the need for statewide data collection of detailed health care information from every Illinois community.

State legislators heard testimony from health care experts Nov. 9 on policies the state could pursue to address racial disparities in health outcomes and access.

That testimony was given during a joint hearing of the Senate Health and Human Services and Public Health committees prompted by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, which has highlighted health care disparities in the past.

Legislators, in Monday’s hearing and in past hearings, have referenced significantly higher maternal mortality rates, higher infant mortality rates, and higher rates of COVID-19 positivity and COVID-related deaths among Blacks and Latinos, in Illinois and nationwide, compared to their white counterparts.

According to Elissa Bassler, CEO of the Illinois Public Health Institute, a necessary component of good policy to address existing disparities is good data.

In her testimony before the joint hearing, Bassler said the state needed to collect better data in order to use public funds strategically. Otherwise, much-needed public funds could be inadequately disbursed, treating symptoms of disparities but not addressing root causes to actually address them.

“Traditional public health data on births, causes of deaths and certain diseases collected by existing methods don’t do enough to help communities, local government and the state understand local health concerns and community and social factors associated with…

Read More: Facing racial disparities in Illinois health care | News