In various states and cities in the nation, policymakers and advocates are working on policies that affect health literacy in communities. The Horowitz Center is tracking information about health literacy-related law and regulations. Below is a list as of December 2018 of passed and proposed legislation. Please contact the Center at healthliteracy@umd.edu with 2019 information. 
 

Maryland-Specific Policies

This act requires the Maryland Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities to develop courses with cultural competency, sensitivity, and health literacy, that are designed to address the problem of racial and ethnic disparities in health care access, utilization, treatment decisions, quality, and outcomes. (Passed)
 
The task force would identify barriers to receiving dental services including the impact of low oral health literacy. (Did not advance)
 

Health Literacy Laws 

DC Law to Establish a Health Literacy Council
The Health Literacy Council Establishment Act of 2017 establishes a council to "improve the health literacy and knowledge of mental health for District residents." Under this law, the Mayor is required to collaborate with the Council on advancing health literacy education in D.C's public education system and workforce programs. (Adopted but funds not available to implement)

The resolution details concerns about retroactive emergency room policies that discriminate against patients, including those with lower health literacy. The resolution calls for a study of the problems and recommendations for action or legislation from the committee. 
 
The law calls for web-based technology to link providers, beneficiaries, and health plans to address deficiencies in medical literacy and demonstrate that personal responsibility is enhanced by technology. 
 
The state may include educational strategies to increase health literacy for Oklahoma Medicaid Program participants in a primary care program. 
 

Proposed Legislation 

California Proposal for Revised Health Education and Materials
The legislation would ensure that all written health education and informing materials developed by managed care plans are at or below the equivalent of sixth grade reading level in English.

The resolution requested the establishment of a certification process for services provided by community health workers. The competencies included understanding public health concepts and health literacy and the ability to understand health information technology. 
 
A proposed law seeks to establish an "interagency task force on health literacy, to study health literacy and develop recommendations for improving health literacy" within the state.
 
South Carolina Proposal to Allow Certain Health Practitioners to Receive State Income Tax Credit
The law would authorize a practitioner who practices in a Health Enterprise Zone to receive a state income tax credit and loan repayment assistance. To be eligible, the Health Enterprise Zone practitioner must demonstrate competency in cultural, linguistic, and health literacy in a manner determined by the department.
 

LegiScan

LegiScan is a legislation tracking device. You can search for health literacy-related legislation here.