The Big Idea
Three core ideas drive our work on health equity:
1. High quality care is equitable care.
2. No quality without equity.
3. Build equity into all NCQA programs.
Through our work to identify and address health care disparities and the social determinants of health, we see bold and promising efforts by a growing number of health care organizations. Yet we still see widening disparities and unbearable inequities in many Americans’ ability to access quality health care.
We pledge to examine our strategies, to redouble our efforts to shine a light on unacceptable gaps in care and to create incentives for improvement for all health care organizations.
NCQA Founder & President Peggy O’Kane, 2020
Equity in Health Care
- Our work to create equity includes:
- How we assemble committees, panels and speaker rosters.
- Our expectations of vendors.
- Supporting community through giving & volunteering.
Equity Inside NCQA
- We prize and work to build within our company:
- Diversity of representation.
- Equity of experience.
- Culture of inclusion.
Allies and Partners
We are grateful to our many colleagues who share NCQA’s commitment to equity and who collaborate with us.
Contributions and contributors shaping the development of our measures and standards include:
- Health Equity Accreditation Public Comment: An opportunity open until July 23 for all who care about equity to help shape standards NCQA will use to assess organizations.
- HEDIS® Stratification Public Comment: Hundreds of colleagues advised us in early 2021 how to stratify HEDIS measures by race and ethnicity, so HEDIS can help detect care disparities.
- Public Sector Advisory Council.
- Consumer Advisory Council.
We also thank the funders who make it possible for us to develop standards or other tools to eliminate health disparities:
Our statements about equity-related events in the news include:
See also our blog posts about equity topics.
HEDIS AND HEALTH EQUITY
A June 2021 Issue Brief from NCQA summarizes key considerations in using HEDIS to assess and advance health equity.
- Defining frequently used terms—including terms that are often conflated or misused.
- Using HEDIS to gauge language diversity and racial/ethnic diversity among health plan members.
- Using administrative and community-level proxy data to detect social needs.
Early & Ongoing Work in Equity
NCQA has worked in and for health care equity for years. Events and examples shaping our work include:
- NCQA aligns resources to create and promote a Health Equity Strategy.
- Commonwealth Fund funds NCQA and Grantmakers in Health to create a roadmap to improve and sustainably collect data on race and ethnicity for policy and other audiences.
- The California Endowment funds NCQA to further develop health equity standards for health care delivery systems.
- California Health Care Foundation funds NCQA to expand health equity measurement for health care.
- Creation of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Council: Investing in NCQA as an equitable workplace.
- NCQA introduces SES stratification for select HEDIS measures.
- National Academy of Sciences releases a report on pathways to health equity.
- NCQA receives a CMS Office of Minority Health (OMH) contract for Health Equity Innovation Incubator.
- NCQA receives a CMS OMH contract for Improving Quality by Measuring and Reporting Health Disparities in Vulnerable Populations.
- The California Endowment funds research to develop NCQA’s Multicultural Health Care standards.
- The Institute of Medicine releases a report on unequal treatment, resulting in the development of Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) standards.
Health Equity Resources
- Employers that want to improve health equity for their employees can take steps to drive industry improvements. This report can help them understand the issues surrounding health equity and how to leverage existing standards to address disparities.
- The Multicultural Health Care (MHC) Distinction exemplifies care delivery excellence for by validating care delivery processes and interventions that are sensitive to the racial, cultural and linguistic difference of patient populations.