Social care and health equity quality measures exist to ensure healthcare organizations are providing high-quality services that relate to one or more goals including effective, safe, efficient, patient-centered, equitable, and timely care.
In late 2022 and early 2023 the Joint Commission, National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) introduced new requirements to advance health equity. Healthcare and health plan organizations will now be required to report on their efforts to reduce health disparities and screen patients for social determinants of health (SDoH) needs.
Read on to learn how findhelp is here to support you and your organization across these various policies, accreditations, certifications, and requirements into 2024.
NCQA: Health Equity Accreditations
The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) provides 2 accreditation options: the Health Equity and Health Equity Plus. Each provide health care organizations with an actionable framework for improving health equity; these accreditations are starting to be required by state Medicaid agencies in order to be considered for contracts.
Findhelp software helps customers earn these accreditations via closed-loop referral tracking (married with the customer’s system-of-record data) and Community Engagement activities (outreach, partnerships, and trusted networks), as well as supporting the discovery / confirmation of non-discriminatory practices at community-based organizations.
- The Health Equity Accreditation adds new requirements to NCQA’s Multicultural Health Care standards that focus on organizational diversity, equity, inclusion, and reducing bias; collecting gender identity and sexual orientation data; and reporting race/ethnicity stratified HEDIS measures.
- The voluntary Health Equity Accreditation Plus option includes standards for assessing and addressing social determinants of health and will be available for public comment this fall. In 2022, eight of the nine organizations that earned the first Plus accreditation are findhelp customers and included findhelp data in their applications.
The Joint Commission
The mission of The Joint Commission is to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value.
They do this by setting quality standards, evaluating an organization’s performance, and providing an interactive educative experience that provides innovative solutions and resources to support continuous improvement.
Requirements to Reduce Health Care Disparities
These Joint Commission’s requirements to reduce disparities took effect on January 1, 2023, and apply to organizations in accreditation programs for ambulatory, behavioral and human services, critical access hospitals, and hospitals.
Findhelp’s product and services support all of the Joint Commission’s new requirements to Reduce Health Care Disparities:
- (Req. 1) Our Community Engagement & Customer Success teams can guide your organization to develop an internal position to lead your activities to reduce health care disparities or augment that work for you.
- (Req. 2 & 3) You can report on aggregate and individual needs identified via our configurable social care assessments; these can be integrated with your Epic EHR, and our SQL data delivery tool allows for additional risk stratification.
- (Req. 4) Our Customer Success team can guide your organization to develop an action plan with specific deliverables to address health disparities; our Marketplace delivery program makes it easy to order, track, invoice, and deliver social goods directly to the people who need them.
- (Req. 5) Our Customer Success team can help your organization pivot when disparity reduction goals are not met, and help guide the creation of a revised action plan to address barriers and challenges to increase your impact.
- (Req. 6) Using our progress reports and executive reviews as starting points, we can help you identify the appropriate channels to share your progress and plans with relevant stakeholders.
Health Care Equity Certification
In July 2023 the Joint Commission started accepting applications for a new Health Care Equity Certification to recognize organizations that go beyond the basic accreditation requirements and strive for excellence. It’s a voluntary program for hospitals, separate from accreditation, with a focus on health care equity. Certification requirements build upon long-standing and recently-released health care equity accreditation requirements.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service (CMS): Health Equity Framework
CMS is the federal agency that provides health coverage to more than 160 million through Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the Health Insurance Marketplace. CMS works in partnership with the entire health care community to improve quality, equity and outcomes in the health care system.
CMS updated their framework for health equity to highlight Five Health Equity Priorities for Reducing Healthcare Disparities:
- Priority 1: Expand the Collection, Reporting, and Analysis of Standardized Data
- Priority 2: Assess Causes of Disparities Within CMS Programs and Address Inequities in Policies and Operations to Close Gaps
- Priority 3: Build Capacity of Health Care Organizations and the Workforce to Reduce Health and Health Care Disparities
- Priority 4: Advance Language Access, Health Literacy, and the Provision of Culturally Tailored Services
- Priority 5: Increase All Forms of Accessibility to Health Care Services and Coverage
Unique Ways findhelp Supports Health Equity Quality
Social care and health equity quality measures, whether legally required or voluntary, are an important differentiator for healthcare organizations. At findhelp, our policy team closely monitors updates regulatory changes so that we’re ready to support and advise you.
Here are some of the services we provide:
- Alignment of internal goals and workflows to meet quality measures with an emphasis on a health equity strategy to drive frontline workflows
- Advice on the health needs assessment process and using findhelp data to support creating action plans and monitoring & evaluation strategy
- Action plan creation to meet measurable goals for closed-loop referrals, engagement and adoption of platform, connections, and activated community partners
- Framework development for enterprise-level work that includes tailored, scalable processes for regional communities
- Creation of data plan to identify findhelp data points to combine with system of record data to measure outcomes (clinical, health equity-related, utilization / cost-saving)
Quality Support for Quality Measures
Connect with our team to see how we can help your organization acheive health equity accreditation and support your social care requirements and regulations.