Health Equity

Accreditation and Health Equity

Distinction in Multicultural Health Care (MHC) will become Health Equity Accreditation (HEA), with an additional evaluation option, Health Equity Accreditation Plus, starting with the July 2022 surveys.

Two levels of Health Equity Accreditation programs provide a comprehensive framework that organizations can use to elevate and measure health equity goals, deliver culturally and linguistically appropriate services and reduce disparities.

Health Equity Accreditation is a contract differentiator substantiating a higher level of commitment to the health equity journey.

  • Health Equity Accreditation incorporates MHC’s existing standards and raises the bar to a higher degree of equity.
  • Health Equity Accreditation Plus includes an evaluation option that includes the core HEA requirements and “Plus” standards focused on social determinants of health (SDOH).

See more about the change from Multicultural Healthcare Certification to Health Equity Accreditation.

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:

We also thank the funders who make it possible for us to develop standards or other tools to eliminate health disparities:

Position Statements

Our statements about equity-related events in the news include:

See also our blog posts about equity topics.


A June 2021 Issue Brief from NCQA summarizes key considerations in using HEDIS to assess and advance health equity.

Topics include:

  • 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.

Download Health Equity and Social Determinants of Health in HEDIS: Data for Measurement.

Accounting for Socioeconomic Status in HEDIS Measures.

Early & Ongoing Work in Equity

NCQA has worked in and for health care equity for years. Events and examples shaping our work include:

  • 2021
    • 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.
  • 2020:
  • 2018
  • 2017
    • National Academy of Sciences releases a report on pathways to health equity.
  • 2016
    • NCQA receives a CMS Office of Minority Health (OMH) contract for Health Equity Innovation Incubator.
  • 2014
    • NCQA receives a CMS OMH contract for Improving Quality by Measuring and Reporting Health Disparities in Vulnerable Populations.
  • 2010
  • 2004-2009
  • 2003
    • 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


Employer Health Equity: A Call to Action

  • 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.


NCQA Distinction in Multicultural Health Care (MHC)

  • 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.