July 6, 2001
Health Care Financing Administration
Department of Health and Human Services
Hubert H. Humphrey Building, Room 443-G
200 Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201
State Child Health: Revisions to the Regulations Implementing the State Children’s Health Insurance Program
The National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics (NCVHS) is pleased that in the recent consideration of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) regulations, you supported the continuation of the collection of data on race and ethnicity. NCVHS has a long history of interest in issues of race and ethnicity in health data and health statistics. The Committee has provided advice to the Secretary of Health and Human Services on the necessity and benefits of collection of such data in monitoring the health of the nation to ensure a healthy population. We are, therefore, pleased and excited that this philosophy has been extended to the SCHIP program, which can enhance our efforts to ensure that all children are participating in programs designed to build a healthy nation.
One area of interest to NCVHS is the value of the collection of data on language of SCHIP participants. There are a number of ways in which language of participants in the SCHIP program may be related to efforts to ensure better health outcomes. Language is central to the evaluation of health education, patient satisfaction, perceived access to services, and a number of other critical areas in health care interactions. The Committee is aware that a number of states have determined that the collection of this data is useful and does not appear to be a significant burden to collect. We appreciate the careful deliberations that allowed you to determine that the collection of data on race and ethnicity was both valuable and balanced relative to the burdens associated with collection. We strongly urge and hope that similar consideration would be given to the collection of data on language.
John Lumpkin, M.D., M.P.H.
Chair, National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics
Cc: HHS Data Council Co-Chairs