This year, as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of Minority Health (CMS OMH) honors National Hispanic Heritage Month, we hope to focus on prioritizing health for the nation’s 60 million Hispanics by encouraging annual flu shots and sharing resources to help Hispanics take steps toward better health.
Each year from September 15 to October 15, National Hispanic Heritage Month recognizes the contributions, achievements, and histories of Hispanics and Latinos in American culture. Many face unique challenges within the Hispanic community, including language barriers, poverty, lack of education, and immigration status that have affected Hispanics health and health care access.
This year, more than ever, it is important to prioritize our health. Like other minority groups, Hispanics are disproportionately affected by chronic health conditions putting them at an increased risk of developing certain illnesses such as the flu or COVID-19. Factors such as underlying health conditions and a lack of access to health care services put the Hispanic community at an increased risk of contracting these viruses.
As this year’s flu season will be compounded with COVID-19, it is important that all adults and children get the flu vaccine. Although the flu shot can reduce the risk of illness and hospitalization and is covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and most health plans, only 36 percent of Hispanic Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries and 65 percent of Hispanic Medicare Advantage beneficiaries received the flu vaccine in 2018.
Recognizing Hispanic Heritage Month is part of our strategy to foster innovation by sharing resources and initiatives that can help to improve access to health care services and improve health equity within the Hispanic community. Below are several resources you can use this month and beyond.
- Review our new data snapshot, Annual Influenza Vaccination Disparities in Fee-for-Service Beneficiaries that provides an overview of the flu vaccine and vaccination rate data by race, ethnicity, and gender among Medicare beneficiaries.
- Read CMS OMH’s, Understanding the Health Needs of Diverse Groups of Hispanic Medicare Beneficiaries, which examines the future medical needs and challenges of a fast growing Hispanic population.
- Review the Racial, Ethnic, and Gender Disparities in Health Care in Medicare Advantage stratified report, which looks at racial and ethnic differences in health care experiences and clinical care for Medicare Advantage beneficiaries.
- View CMS OMH’s Quality Improvement & Interventions to find evidence-based interventions that can contribute to reducing health disparities and lowering cost. Key resources include:
- Download and share our Rural Health Strategy: 5 Key Objectives in Spanish and English, which provides five objectives to help move rural health providers and their patients forward.
- Visit the HHS Office of Minority health page for information and social graphics in English, Hispanic Heritage Month page or Spanish, Mes de la Herencia Hispana.
- Looking for information on COVID-19? Visit this CMS OMH webpage for COVID-19 Federal resources focusing on vulnerable populations: cms.gov/omhcovid19 and C2C COVID-19: go.cms.gov/c2ccovid19.
- Download and share From Coverage to Care (C2C) resources which are all available in both English and Spanish:
- A Roadmap to Better Care and a Healthier You
- A Roadmap to Behavioral Health
- How to Maximize Your Health Coverage video series
Share Connected Care resources, such as the “Connecting the Dots” patient animated videos, available in both Spanish and English, to help individuals living with multiple chronic conditions learn more about the benefits of chronic care management services.