Improve Health Equity this Health Literacy Month 

During October, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of Minority Health (CMS OMH) recognizes Health Literacy Month. Health literacy and health equity are related concepts. Health literacy principles can be used to advance health equity. Accessing and understanding information allows individuals to act on it, but they are more likely to accept information that incorporates health equity principles. Taken together, information can be clearer and more inclusive.

Health literacy is included as a priority area in the CMS Framework for Health Equity. Nearly 9% of the U.S. population are individuals with limited English proficiency and nearly 36% have low health literacy. Research shows that individuals with limited English proficiency and low health literacy report poor health status nearly twice as much as individuals that do not have these barriers. Insurance status has also been shown to be correlated with health literacy status as individuals with Medicaid have been shown to have an increased risk of low health literacy. Failure to address health literacy, among other cultural and linguistic factors, can result in patient safety and adverse events including diagnostic errors, missed screenings, and inappropriate care transitions.

Through our Coverage to Care (C2C) initiative, CMS offers a variety of resources that are designed to help people understand their health coverage and connect to the primary care and preventive services that are best for them.  Below is a list of resources, including C2C resources, that you can share with the populations you serve.