Health equity means that every Pennsylvanian has an opportunity to be as healthy as possible. By working to gather the information needed to identify obstacles to health and by working directly with communities – both urban and rural – to address these barriers, PHAN aims to reduce disparate health outcomes for communities across our state.
Below are our specific policy priorities related to health equity:
The 2020 Census is quickly approaching, and the outcome will have direct impact on healthcare funding in Pennsylvania. There are multiple reasons to be concerned about the likelihood of an undercount, including reduced federal funding and the introduction of a citizenship question. PHAN is working to ensure that Pennsylvania takes action to ensure a complete count.
All-Payer Claims Database
An All-Payer Claims Database (APCD) is a tool that contains healthcare cost and quality data and is meaningful, clear, easy to understand, relevant, and actionable. The current lack of such a tool limits the Commonwealth from assessing cost issues and making relevant changes. PHAN is working on the development and implementation of such a tool in Pennsylvania in an effort to create transparency around healthcare quality and cost information.
Rural Access Project
People living with intellectual or developmental disabilities in rural areas disproportionately lack accessible healthcare. Transportation to clinics and hospitals may be unreliable or non-existent and providers may not have adequate training or facilities to accommodate community members’ needs. PHAN is working to ensure that the voices of community members are heard and that their experiences lead directly to increased accessibility.
Non-Emergency Medical Transportation
Access to reliable and quality transportation to and from medical appointments is critical to increasing positive health outcomes and addressing health disparities. Non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) is available through Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program, and is often a lifeline for senior citizens, individuals with disabilities, or individuals in rural areas who might otherwise face barriers to keeping medical appointments. Act 40, passed by the Pennsylvania legislature in 2018, requires Pennsylvania to move toward a brokerage model for providing NEMT. PHAN is committed to ensuring that the brokerage model is implemented with care, consumer and stakeholder involvement, and with adequate time for proper planning and analysis.
Preserving the General Assistance Program
General Assistance is a targeted program providing a small amount of cash support to people who need it urgently in order to stabilize their situation, prevent serious decline, and work toward self-sufficiency. The program is under threat in Pennsylvania, and PHAN is working to preserve this critical program.