HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

Section 4302 of the Affordable Care Act already requires the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (OK, so maybe not Secretary Sebelius herself, but her department) to “ensure that any federally conducted or supported health care or public health program, activity or survey collects and reports data, to the extent practicable, on race, ethnicity, sex, primary language and disability status, as well as other demographic data on health disparities as deemed appropriate by the Secretary.”

Today, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced new draft standards for collecting the required data, AND that she is adding LGBT populations to the demograhpic on which her office will collect data, in an effort to help health care providers better identify and address the “health disparities afflicting these communities,” according to a press release sent out this morning.

Under this new plan, HHS will integrate questions on sexual orientation into national data collection efforts by 2013, and to begin the process of collecting data on gender identity. Secretary Sebelius will also convene a series of roundtables with a variety of experts to come up with the best plan for efficiently collecting the data on LGBTs.

The end result will, hopefully, help eliminate disparities in health care these targeted populations face.