JOINT STATEMENT ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF GEORGE FLOYD’S DEATH
WASHINGTON, D.C., MAY 25, 2021— The following statement on the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s death is attributed to 340B Health Board of Directors Chair Sherrie Williams, MD, MHS, and 340B Health President and CEO Maureen Testoni, JD:
Today is a somber day of remembrance for George Floyd and the many other men, women, and children who have died needlessly due to systemic racism in our country. His death prompted a national reckoning on social injustice at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted long-standing inequities in health. Today is a time for us to reflect on the work we must do as a nation to address these problems.
The pandemic and its disproportionate impact on people of color has starkly illustrated that racial, ethnic, and cultural disparities in care represent a clear and present public health crisis that we must confront and correct. In March 1966, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and the most inhuman because it often results in physical death.” His words are as true today as they were more than a half-century ago.
Hospitals participating in the 340B drug pricing program serve many of our nation’s residents who are most in need of care, including people of color, those living with limited incomes, those living in underserved rural communities, and those living with disabilities. We are encouraged by and proud of the initiatives many of our member hospitals have put in place to address the disparities that pervade our country. These hospitals work tirelessly to narrow these gaps in care and health.
In a recent report on best practices, 340B Health members identified four major ways safety-net hospitals are identifying where our health care system is failing and addressing resulting inequities. They are:
- Increasing the racial and ethnic diversity of their leadership and expanding cultural competency and implicit bias training for their workforces;
- Screening patients for social determinants of health and connecting patients to food, transportation, employment, and housing resources through community partners;
- Collecting data on patient health outcomes by race, ethnicity, and primary language as well as analyzing those data to identify health disparities and measure progress toward eliminating them; and
- Improving access to COVID-19 testing and treatment for patient communities that have been affected disproportionately by the pandemic.
As we move forward, we cannot lose sight of the lessons that George Floyd’s life and death have taught us. All patients deserve high-quality, dignified health care. This is a shared mission we all must embrace, advance, and never forget.
Contact: Richard Sorian at email@example.com or 202-536-2285.