Health

Joint commission to add health equity standards to accreditations

The Joint Commission is the accrediting body for more than 22,000 provider organizations and programs nationwide.

“We are talking about healthcare leaders. They were not held accountable for something that cost so much, said Ana Macchi, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of the Joint Commission, during the Modern Healthcare Symposium on Social Determinants of Health. of great importance for society, but also for organizations that participate in the conclusion of risk contracts and bundle payments.

The organization will offer educational programs and other resources to help bring health systems up to new standards, she said.

The joint commission has focused on racial health equity amid the COVID-19 pandemic and in the wake of the 2020 killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. In its then-statement, the group committed to combating systemic health care racism, which has contributed to people of color having significantly worse health outcomes than their white counterparts.

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In July 2021, the group issued a recommendation to healthcare leaders to make equity a strategic priority. He recommended organizations undertake efforts to solve social problems, create a community outreach plan and provide employment opportunities that ensure the economic development of the local population.

In June, the commission officially launched a year-long mentoring and networking program in partnership with the American Medical Association and Brigham & Women’s Hospital. In its first year, the program will support equity efforts in eight health systems, including Ochsner Health, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

The American Hospital Association supports the new standards. Leon Caldwell, senior director of health equity strategy and innovation, said this builds on the work the association is doing with health systems to improve clinical outcomes.

“The Joint Commission standards appear to be aligned with components of quality measures recently adopted by CMS for hospital care, as well as elements of our equity roadmap, all of which highlight many of the same fundamental steps to advance equity,” Caldwell said in his report. Email address. “These steps include engaging leadership and hospital leadership in health equity, gathering and analyzing data, and taking action to close structural inequalities.”

The Commission joins several other regulatory and accrediting bodies in setting new health equity standards.

The National Committee for Quality Assurance, the Minority Quality Forum, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have begun to integrate equity metrics into accountability programs for health insurers.

The latest standards reflect regulators’ ongoing commitment to creating financial and regulatory incentives that help close health inequalities.

“I think it’s time for a change,” McKee said. “We as a nation are collaborating to improve. It’s time to really institutionalize this work.”


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