What BEAM is Learning About Birth Equity

December 8, 2023 · Andy Reynolds

A December 12 webinar featuring NCQA researchers and our partners from Reproductive Health Impact (RH Impact) highlights our newest ideas on a vital quality topic: birth equity.  

Why This Matters

Inequities pervade maternal health. Those inequities make maternal health is a quality priority.

After all, there can be no quality without equity.

Significant gaps exist in perinatal health outcomes across different groups.

Black people face notably worse outcomes.

What’s New

The Birth Equity Accountability through Measurement (BEAM) initiative is a fruitful collaboration between NCQA and RH Impact.

To complete Phase 1 of the BEAM project, NCQA and RH Impact teammates analyzed existing research on maternal health inequities.

The Big Picture

Mortality gaps between Non-Hispanic Black birthing people and other groups are large, persistent and growing. Quality advocates should focus on improving care and outcomes for Black birthing people and other historically marginalized populations.

Quality measurement can help. Measures evaluate how well health care systems adapt to serving diverse people and groups—especially those who have been left out and left behind by the quality  advances in the past.

Current measures don’t fill all gaps and opportunities in birth equity. Existing measures capture only fragments of the health care process. They tend to overlook racist practices or policies. And they don’t foster collaboration and joint accountability among practitioners.

Engaging Stakeholders

Interviews of patients, providers and other stakeholders helped NCQA and RH Impact identify how each level of the health system can best address birth equity.

What Insiders are Saying

NCQA staff who are not on the BEAM team but have seen some of the Phase 1 findings are intrigued by the framework for birth equity measurement that the project has proposed.

The framework integrates diverse personal and systemic variables into a multi-layered model of care.

It’s different than what many people who work in quality have seen before.

The framework debuts 23 minutes into the webinar recording.

What’s Next?

Webinar: Phase 1 BEAM Findings. Watch the December 12 event to see what NCQA and RH Impact have learned.


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