United States Health Literacy Policy and Models

California Literacy, Inc., makes no claim as to the accuracy of the information provided in the California Health Literacy Initiative Health Literacy Resource Center.

Health Literacy Policy

Council of State Governments (CSG): State Official's Guide to Health Literacy and Health Literacy Tool Kit 
This guide reports the results of CSG's 2002 National Survey on Health Literacy Initiatives, a national survey to find out what states are doing to improve health literacy or to make the health care system easier to navigate. It provides an overview of state initiatives as well as information on relevant academic research and successful private-sector initiatives. CSG's Health Literacy Tool Kit contains four issue briefs that examine different ways states can address this problem – through their Medicaid programs, by improving health communication, in state-mandated K-12 curriculum, and by working with adult learners. For more information about health literacy at CSG, or to find out how to request a copy of CSG's Guide or Tool Kit, please contact Jenny Sewell, health policy analyst, at (859) 244-8154 or jsewell@csg.org. Seach under the keyword, "health literacy."http://www.csg.org

National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy (NCSALL) 
Through print, electronic, and face-to-face communication, NCSALL ensures that its research results reach practitioners, administrators, policymakers, and scholars. By providing these varied formats, NCSALL offers an accessible, timely, and valuable source of pertinent information for the field of adult literacy education. All materials except The Annual Review of Adult Learning and Literacy are available to download. Order online for printed copies of any NCSALL publications, including The Annual Review of Adult Learning and Literacy.http://ncsall.gse.harvard.edu/publication.html

Literacy, Health and Health Literacy: State Policy Considerations 
In this article Marcia Drew Hohn provides an overview of the five strategies worth considering when contemplating how to engage with literacy and health issues. http://ncsall.gse.harvard.edu/fob/2002/hohn.html

United States Health and Human Services: The Plain Language Initiative 
This initiative requires the use of plain language in all new documents written for the public, other government entities and fellow workers.http://execsec.od.nih.gov/plainlang/intro.html

State Models

California Literacy, Inc.: California Health Literacy Initiative 
The goal of the California Health Literacy Initiative is to inform and partner with individuals and organizations to positively impact the health and well being of individuals with low literacy skills, their families, and their communities. http://www.cahealthliteracy.org

Florida: Adult Education Practitioner’s Task Force 
Curriculum framework and student performance standards are being developed to encourage teachers to incorporate health information into other subject areas. An emphasis has been placed on the partnerships between the health care industry and educators. Health brochures were developed through a Florida Department of Education grant to Leon County Schools Adult & Community Education in cooperation with the Florida Adult Basic Education Practitioners' Committee. The brochures are designed for individuals with limited literacy skills in an effort to provide information on the health topics at a level understandable to the individual. http://www.abeflorida.org/ health.htm

Georgia: Health Literacy Pilot Sites 
The Georgia Health Literacy Pilot Project established health literacy sites throughout the state that hold health literacy classes. Educational information and public health concerns are included in the curriculum.http://www.dtae.org/annualreport2003/adultliteracy.html

Louisiana: A Curriculum Guide for Adult Literacy Classes 
An effective ESL (English as a Second Language) curriculum, the course textbook is IHA's self-help health book, What To Do When Your Child Gets Sick. As learners begin to master reading, writing, and speaking in English, they are also learning healthcare skills to become effective child caregivers.
This project was funded through an English literacy and civics education grant from the Louisiana State Department of Education.
http://iha4health.org/index.cfm?CFID=42186129&CFTOKEN=11720932& MenuItemID=125&MenuGroup=Home 

Texas: The El Paso Community College/Community Education Program 
The El Paso Community College/Community Education Program has created a health literacy curriculum for adult learners. The lessons were developed to meet the health and education needs of its students.http://www.worlded.org/us/health/docs/elpaso/index.htm#health

Utah: University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics, Patient Education Materials 
The University of Utah has outlined guidelines for Patient Education. The overall purpose is to insure that the patient and, when appropriate, his or her significant other(s) are provided with education to enhance knowledge, skills, and behavior change. http://www.med.utah.edu/pated/

Virginia: University of Virginia, Building a Health Literacy Curriculum 
The content in this site is intended to help instructors develop their own Health Literacy curriculum at their particular institution. http://www.healthsystem.virginia.edu/internet/som-hlc/home.cfm

Virginia: Charlottesville Public Schools ESL Health Curriculum 
This 10-unit multi-level curriculum focuses on developing civic awareness and participation with regard to health. It is committed to being student-generated and therefore reliant upon student input. 

Health Literacy Policy: Publications
Gazmararian, J.A., Baker, D.W., Williams, M.V., Parker, R.M., Scott, T.L., Green, D.C., Fehrenbach, S.N., Ren, J., Koplan, J.P. (1999). Journal of the American Medical Association, 281. 545-51. This article reports findings of a study measuring health literacy of elderly Medicare enrollees in a managed care organization using the Short Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults

Health literacy: report of the Council on Scientific Affairs. (1999). Journal of the American Medical Association, 281. 552-557. This article emphasizes the importance of health literacy awareness and makes recommendations adopted as AMA policy.

Hohn, M.D. (2002). Literacy, health and health literacy: State and policy considerations, focus on basics. Health and Literacy. In this article, Hohn provides an overview of the five strategies worth considering when contemplating how to engage with literacy and health issues. http://ncsall.gse.harvard.edu/fob/2002/hohn.html

Kaplan, S.A., Greene, J., Molnar, C., Bernstein, A., & Ghanbarpour, S. Educating medicaid beneficiaries about managed care: Approaches in 13 cities. The Commonwealth Fund. This article covers a review of Medicaid managed care educational efforts that was conducted in 13 cities across the country. The intent of the study is to help policymakers develop and sustain programs that will teach beneficiaries to understand, use, and benefit from Medicaid managed care. 
http://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/ publications_show.htm?doc_id=221386

Kiefer, K. (2001). Health literacy: Responding to the need for help. Center for Medicare Education. This article provides an in-depth discussion of health literacy including its impact on the Medicare enrollment process. Recommendations include assessment of health literacy skills by healthcare providers, one-on-one and group assistance, visual tools, and training programs. Funding opportunities for these types of programs are also discussed. 

Kilker, K. (2000). Considering Health Literacy. Center for Medicare Education, 1. This article provides a brief overview of health literacy, its definition, the effect of low health literacy on Medicare and Medicaid populations, and the costs associated with low health literacy. Examples of programs that address this problem are provided.

Kirsch, I.S., Jungebut, A., Jenkins L., & Kolstad, A. (1993). Adult Literacy in America: A First Look at the Results of the National Adult Literacy Survey. Washington, D.C.: National Center for Education Statistics, United States Department of Education.

Root, J., & Stableford, S. (1999). Easy-to-read consumer communications: A missing link in Medicaid managed care. Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, 24. 1-26. This article highlights the Maine Area Health Education Center Health Literacy Center's efforts to educate Medicaid patients with easy-to-read materials. The center sponsored three national skills training workshops titled "Writing for the Medicaid Market." 

Shutan, B. (2001). ABCs of Health Care: Educational campaigns are afoot to improve patient understanding and save on unnecessary care and costs. Risk & Insurance, 12. In this article, the health literacy efforts of various organizations such as the AMA, Pfizer Inc., risk management company FutureHealth Corp., and medical management company Intracorp are examined.

National Literacy Act (1991). http://www.nifl.gov/public-law.html

Williams, M.V., Parker, R.M., Baker, D.W., Parikh, N.S., Pitkin, K., Coates, W.C., & Nurss, J.R. (1995). Inadequate functional health literacy among patients at two public hospitals. Journal of the American Medical Association, 274. 1677-1682.