State Task Force Addresses Healthcare Disparities

New York’s Medicaid program should cover primary and secondary chronic disease prevention and treatment, according to recommendations released October 20 by a State Health Disparities Work Group. Convened as one of ten Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT) Workgroups empanelled to make recommendations to Governor Cuomo, the Disparities Group emphasizes the need for pre-diabetes treatment, home-based asthma assessments, environmental testing for lead poisoning and reimbursement for automated blood pressure cuffs for home use. The Work Group notes the federal health reform law permits States to provide recommended preventive services with no cost-sharing requirements for Medicaid recipients. Pre-diabetes affects one in three adults, with an estimated 40 percent of individuals with the condition going on to develop diabetes. The Work Group states that individual and group lifestyle counseling can result in a 58% success rate in delaying or preventing the onset of diabetes. The Workgroup makes a number of other recommendations, addressing such issues as streamlining access to emergency services, emphasizing disparities at teaching facilities, promoting language-accessible prescriptions and ensuring transparency in the use of charity care funding. For reports on these and other recommendations from Workgroups, visit the MRT website at