Minority health disparities cost Maryland over $1 billion per year in direct medical costs, according to a presentation from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
In response to increasing health disparities resulting from COVID-19, the Maryland Health Equity Resource Act — signed into law in May — is allocating $60 million to address health inequities across the state.
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The newly formed Health Equity Resource Community (HERC) Advisory Committee will decide how best to use these funds to address health disparities in communities across Maryland. The committee is made up of state officials and health policy experts from across the state.
The purpose of the HERC Advisory Committee is to use state resources to reduce health disparities, improve health outcomes, improve access to primary care, promote primary and secondary prevention services, and reduce health care costs and hospital admissions and readmissions
Maryland Department of Health Secretary Dennis R. Schrader highlighted the importance of this grant in a statement:
“The overall health of Maryland is dependent on ensuring that all Marylanders have access to the best health care and that their critical health needs are met.”
The committee is slated to meet three times in August, with grant applications being accepted as early as October.