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Public Statements

Patient Navigator Outreach and Chronic Disease Prevention Act of 2004

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


PATIENT NAVIGATOR OUTREACH AND CHRONIC DISEASE PREVENTION ACT OF 2004 -- (House of Representatives - October 05, 2004)

Mr. BARTON of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill (H.R. 918) to authorize the Health Resources and Services Administration, the National Cancer Institute, and the Indian Health Service to make grants for model programs to provide to individuals of health disparity populations prevention, early detection, treatment, and appropriate follow-up care services for cancer and chronic diseases, and to make grants regarding patient navigators to assist individuals of health disparity populations in receiving such services, as amended.

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Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. I thank the gentleman for yielding me this time.

While there is no question, Mr. Speaker, that tremendous progress has been made across our country in the fight against cancer and other diseases, barriers continue to exist between millions of Americans and their access to high quality health care. Whether it is due to distance, lack of health insurance, limited access to specialists, limited language skills, whatever the reason, too many Americans continue to receive a narrow range of health care services and limited options. That is why I am so pleased to join the gentlewoman from Ohio (Ms. Pryce) and the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Menendez) as an original cosponsor of the Patient Navigator, Outreach, and Chronic Disease Prevention Act and to express my heartfelt support for this vital piece of legislation that is going to improve the lives of so many people.

This program provides a crucial service, primarily to the underinsured and the uninsured members of all populations, and most specifically to the Hispanic and African-American populations that studies have shown are those who are in those categories of underinsured and uninsured. Navigating the health system can be a huge barrier for many people. The patient navigator bill will greatly aid the community by providing a more efficient service for all. The patient navigator bill will also help the communities by providing a more efficient service for all minorities because it addresses the unique needs of the population that it serves through providing culturally sensitive services, including cancer screening, disease prevention counseling, assistance in obtaining Medicaid and other necessary referrals.

This important legislation, Mr. Speaker, would ensure early prevention screening and timely treatment for all patients. It seeks to help close the gap that exists in health care treatment for minority communities, thus improving their quality of life and ensuring that the minority members of our community are treated with the utmost respect and care.

An example of a successful patient navigator program exists right here in our Nation's capital, Mr. Speaker. It is run by Dr. Elmer Huerta, one of the founding fathers of the patient navigator program. Dr. Huerta conducts a weekly 1-hour show called, Let's Talk About Health, Hablemos de Salud, which focuses on health promotion and disease prevention. This show reaches about 75 percent of Hispanics and Latinos in the United States, over 25 million people, and it extends to Latin America. I am proud to be associated with such a dynamic and exciting program, and I thank all who have worked tirelessly to make this vital program a reality. Muchas gracias.

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