Health Equity

High-quality care is equitable care.

Health directly relates to equitable care: Everyone deserves the best treatment regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic or cultural characteristics.

Health Equity

Quality health care has been historically unequal, often depending on a population’s race, culture, religion, class, gender, sexual orientation, geography or language.

Health equity is a commitment to provide high-level care to all populations and to remove obstacles and disparities in the health care system.

NCQA is committed to ongoing and evolving equity in health care.

Let’s take the journey together to achieve equitable health care for all Americans.

Our Commitment

Investigate

Be intentional in assessing and identifying areas with unwarranted differences while pointing out historical bias.

Illuminate

Listen and amplify the voices of underserved communities and identify ways to eliminate disparities.

Elevate

Promote actions that reduce disparities and propel health care toward true equity for everyone.

The Stats

Facing Inequitable Outcomes

Inequitable access to health care and social drivers of health results in significantly increased medical expenses each year, higher death rates in some communities and uneven distribution of resources.

$93billion

Racial disparities cost the U.S. an estimated $93B in excess medical costs and $42B in lost productivity per year, in addition to economic losses due to premature deaths.1

2044

The U.S. Census projects that by 2044, racial and ethnic minorities will constitute the majority of Americans.2

10.6%

10.6% of the African American population did not have health insurance in 2017 vs. 5.9% of the White population.3

21.5%

21.5% of the Hispanic population 20 years and older have diabetes vs. 13% of the White population in the same age range.4

How We Help

Health Systems

NCQA frameworks and programs help health systems identify disparities in care and close gaps in populations while supporting the priorities of contracting partners.

Health Plans

NCQA programs and measures help health plans implement an actionable framework to provide high-quality care for all members, determine how health inequities influence HEDIS® measures and outcomes, and meet contracting and regulatory requirements.

State & Federal Government

NCQA helps state and federal governments identify high-performing organizations and improve health equity in the community through accountability programs, quality reporting systems and custom research and analytic services.

Employers

Use NCQA programs to identify health plan and provider partners that excel in providing equitable health care with measurable outcomes, supporting equitable treatment to all employees.

Resources

Our Impact

Explore how NCQA identifies inequalities and creates positive change.

Build Trust

Reduce Disparities

Change Systems to Overcome Bias

Promote Equity

Resource Guide
Social Determinants of Health

Implement strategies that address social determinants of health for commercially insured populations.

Research
Focus Reports

See NCQA’s research collaborations and contributions.

Watch
Health Equity Videos

Watch our videos addressing health equity and care disparities.

Programs
Health Equity Accreditation

Explore NCQA Accreditations for actionable frameworks to improve health equity.

Active Work
Efforts in Medicaid

NCQA, with support from the California Health Care Foundation, is advancing standardized health equity quality measurement.

Timeline

Our Commitment to Health Equity Over Time

Learn about NCQA’s evolution to elevating health equity.

2010

NCQA launches its Distinction in Multicultural Health Care program.

HEDIS includes Diversity of Membership measures in MHC Distinction.

The California Endowment funds research to develop NCQA’s Multicultural Health Care standards and guidelines.

2014

NCQA receives a CMS Office of Minority Health contract to explore disparities in health care quality. NCQA also helps identify and develop measures for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services for use in the Medicare QIO program.

2016

NCQA receives a CMS Office of Minority Health contract, the Health Equity Innovation Incubator, which brings together multiple stakeholders to examine potential disparities in care. One NCQA study highlights an unintended barrier to pain treatment for people with sickle cell anemia. Read more here.

2018

NCQA introduces socioeconomic status stratification for select HEDIS measures.

2021

NCQA aligns resources to create and promote a health equity strategy.

The Commonwealth Fund underwrites NCQA and Grantmakers in Health to create a roadmap to improve and sustainably collect data on race and ethnicity for policymakers and other audiences.

The California Endowment funds NCQA to develop health equity standards for health care delivery systems.

The California Health Care Foundation funds NCQA to expand health equity measurement for health care.

Creation of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council: Investing in NCQA as an equitable workplace.

The Penn Center for Community Health Workers partners with NCQA to develop standards for recruiting, employing and supervising community health workers.

The National Academy of Medicine convenes NCQA and other prominent U.S. health care quality organizations to discuss and author a paper identifying key barriers and strategies to advance equity in health care quality.

2022 and Beyond

Health Equity Accreditation Plus focuses on social drivers of health.
NCQA’s Health Equity Accreditation programs continue to evolve and expand gender identity and sexual orientation data and report racially and ethnically stratified HEDIS® measures.

Allies & Partners

We are grateful to our many colleagues and collaborators that share NCQA’s commitment to health equity.

Contributions and contributors shaping development of our measures and standards include:

We also thank the funders that make it possible for us to develop standards and tools to eliminate disparities:

  1. Ani Turner, The Business Case for Racial Equity, A Strategy for Growth, W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Altarum, April 2018.
  2. U.S. Census Bureau, Projections of the Size and Composition of the U.S. Population: 2014 to 2060, March 2019.
  3. Cdc.gov. 2021. FastStats. [online] Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/black-health.htm.
  4. Cdc.gov. 2021. FastStats. [online] Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/black-health.htm.
  5. HEDIS® is a registered trademark of the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA)