The OMB’s New Rules for Collecting Race and Ethnicity Data

May 28, 2024


The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) recently released revisions to Statistical Policy Directive (SPD) No. 15, which governs the standards for maintaining, collecting and presenting federal data on race and ethnicity. This update marks the first since 1997. As part of the OMB’s directive, there are several key requirements for collecting race and ethnicity data outlined in the ruling that Federal Agencies will be required to comply with, including:

  • Combine the separate questions on race and ethnicity into a single combined race and ethnicity question: What is your race and/or ethnicity?
  • Add Middle Eastern or North African (MENA) as a new minimum category, an update from the category of White to remove MENA from its definition.
  • Require the collection of detailed race and ethnicity categories as described in the Notice as a default, unless an exemption is granted by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA).
  • Use instructions that reporting multiple categories is allowed (and encouraged) regardless of whether minimum or detailed reporting categories are collected.

While the OMB will mandate federal agencies to complete and submit an Action Plan on Race and Ethnicity Data within 18 months of the Notice's publication, they also encourage agencies to begin implementing revisions without waiting for their action plans to be finalized. Furthermore, the notice stipulates that agencies must make their Action Plans publicly available upon submission and ensure compliance with the collection requirements within five years.

How this Impacts Healthcare Organizations

For healthcare organizations to work with federal agencies, they will be required to align with these requirements. Being proactive will help to ensure organizations are prepared to comply.  Get started today by:

  • Identifying all IT systems and forms and/or assessments your organization is using to collect race and ethnicity data and develop an action plan to ensure they are configured to support new regulatory requirements.
  • Understanding which vendor partners are collecting data and ensure they are taking action to align with new requirements.
  • Educating internal business units and vendor partners on new requirements.
  • Monitoring timelines for race and ethnicity collection requirements by other organizations (such as NCQA) as they often will require more time sensitive alignment with requirements to support health equity initiatives.

Aligning with new regulatory requirements can be a challenging process. Healthmine is already configuring our technology to accommodate these new regulatory requirements. We are also prepared to help equip healthcare organizations with the tools and guidance to streamline this process. Contact us for practical assistance and expert guidance in navigating these new regulations and implementing best practices effectively.

Donna is a Registered Nurse with over 28 years of clinical experience, 22 of which have been in healthcare administration. She focuses on using innovative approaches to improve the care delivery system by ensuring clinical teams understand and leverage data and information systems to identify, manage and provide quality-based care efficiently. She is passionate about developing strong and efficient teams that optimize patient outcomes and experiences.

She has worked with both large hospital systems and payers, which provides her with insight of multiple perspectives within the healthcare industry. She has worked closely with these providers and systems to promote value-based care opportunities and a medical neighborhood concept. Donna has also consulted with multiple organizations to provide expertise related to various NCQA accreditation and certification programs.

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Ana brings more than 20 years of healthcare and health plan experience to Healthmine. She most recently came from WellSense Health Plan, formerly Boston Medical Center HealthNet Plan. She had oversight of work related to Stars, HEDIS®, NCQA, Quality Rating System, External Quality Review Organization, population health programs, new product implementation, value-based care programs, policy advocacy and health equity programs.

Ana developed multiple innovative member and provider interventions that were integral in the successful improvement of key HEDIS and Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) quality measures and meeting corporate and contractual goals. She has experience with successfully identifying and implementing new to industry initiatives, such as texting, with proven quality and financial improvement. Ana is bilingual in English and Spanish and has used this in community initiatives to help engage members and improve the quality of care for the Medicaid, Medicare, Affordable Care Act, and Commercial populations. 

Ana holds a master’s degree from Simmons University in Health Administration and a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Hampshire.  

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