FAQs: Health Equity Accreditation

Why is NCQA updating MHC 2021 to Health Equity Accreditation?

The current MHC Distinction focuses on evaluating race, ethnicity, and language, offering culturally and linguistically appropriate services and reducing disparities regarding race, ethnicity, and language. These activities act as a strong foundation.

NCQA believes that to meet the goals of health equity, organizations must assess other aspects that can lead to disparities, such as gender identity, sexual orientation and SDOH.

Organizations must also examine and begin to address systems that lead to disparities and inequities, through improved diversity, awareness, and reduction of bias.

NCQA has determined more should be done. Adding standards and creating a robust Accreditation moves us further along the path. Expanding MHC into Health Equity Accreditation and Health Equity Accreditation Plus brings us closer to health equity.

Is MHC Distinction being replaced?

NCQA will support MHC until all current customers transition to Health Equity Accreditation. MHC can be surveyed until June 30, 2022.

Any new customer survey after July 1, 2022 will be Health Equity Accreditation.

Why is MHC Distinction becoming an Accreditation?

NCQA is using the term “Accreditation” to distinguish stand-alone products.

What’s new in Health Equity Accreditation and Health Equity Accreditation Plus?

Health Equity Accreditation includes the MHC requirements and new requirements focused on organizational diversity, equity, inclusion, and reducing bias; collection of gender identity and sexual orientation data; and reporting of race/ethnicity stratified HEDIS measures. These updates are available for public comment June 16- July 23, 2021.

The voluntary “Plus” evaluation option will include standards for assessing and addressing social determinants of health. These standards will be available for public comment in Fall 2021.

Do customers have to switch to Health Equity Accreditation now?

Not immediately. Organizations have options to extend their MHC Distinction status until they are prepared to transition to Health Equity Accreditation. MHC Distinction will not be available for survey after July 1, 2022.

When will Health Equity Accreditation be available?

Health Equity Accreditation standards and applications will be available in September 2021, with surveys beginning on July 1, 2022.

When will Health Equity Accreditation Plus be available?

The standards and application for the “Plus” evaluation option will be available March 2022, with surveys starting on July 1, 2022.

When will the Survey Tool be available?

The IRT survey tool will be available in March 2022. The survey tool will include evaluation options for Health Equity Accreditation, “Plus” evaluation option, and the Transition Survey.

How long is the Look-Back Period?

All look-back periods for new requirements will be 6 months or ”prior to the survey date.”

What is the one-year MHC  Buy-Up option?

The one year buy-up option is to align the move to a three-year program cycle. Organizations with MHC Distinction can choose to extend their Distinction length by one year. Organization should communicate with their ASAR on if this option is best for them .

What are the customer benefits for Health Equity Accreditation?

  • Health Equity Accreditation is a differentiator for our customers.
    • Organizations that earn Health Equity Accreditation will have a distinguishing factor to appeal to payers and employers.
  • Improve quality, monitor improvement, and standardize processes:
  • Health Equity Accreditation provides a comprehensive framework that organizations can use to achieve health equity goals, deliver culturally and linguistically appropriate services and reduce disparities.
  • Organizations that better understand their patients’ needs can better address possible health issues and provide preventive care.

What are the customer benefits for Health Equity Accreditation Plus?

  • SDOH impacts 50-80% of all health outcomes.1
    • Interdependent studies have shown reducing unmet social needs minimizes overall costs of care.
  • SDOH is often required or mandated by payers and employers.
    • 32 states have an SDOH requirement of MCOs.2
    • Six in 10 employers are considering strategies to address SDOH.3
  • Save

    Save your favorite pages and receive notifications whenever they’re updated.

    You will be prompted to log in to your NCQA account.

  • Email

    Share this page with a friend or colleague by Email.

    We do not share your information with third parties.

  • Print

    Print this page.