October 23, 2023
WASHINGTON, DC—The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) has been awarded a major contract from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)’s Office of Minority Health (OMH) to support the advancement of health equity and reduce health and health care disparities affecting underserved populations.
The project, called the Health Equity Accelerator, is an $18 million, maximum 5-year agreement. NCQA has partnered with The RAND Corporation and Rainmakers Strategic Solutions, LLC as subcontractors.
The contract builds on NCQA’s strong foundation of work at the intersection of health equity, health care quality and health outcomes research, as well as NCQA’s longstanding relationship with CMS OMH. NCQA previously supported CMS OMH as the prime contractor for the Health Equity Innovation Incubator, which ran from 2016 to 2021. NCQA also partnered with RAND on that program.
“All of us at NCQA are thrilled to continue our collaboration with the Office of Minority Health and support CMS OMH’s mission and vision,” said NCQA President Margaret E. O’Kane. “We have fantastic partners in RAND and Rainmakers and we are honored to help CMS OMH integrate health equity into the development, evaluation and implementation of CMS policies, programs and partnerships.”
The contract’s major tasks and areas of focus are:
- Reducing Disparities and Improving Access and Quality, including the assessment of social drivers of health related to unplanned 30-day hospital readmissions, chronic kidney disease (CKD), end stage renal disease (ESRD), chronic health conditions and preventive services, and chronic and potentially disabling conditions.
- Reducing Disparities in Mental and Behavioral Health, including analysis of mental and behavioral health disparities, as well as long-COVID’s impact on mental and behavioral health.
- Data-Driven Evidence to Support Policy and Operations, including the improvement and streamlining of health equity-related data elements, studying the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithms on health equity and supporting CMS’ Health Equity Data Workgroup (HEDWG).
- Health Equity Methodologies and Measures, including developing and evolving the Health Equity Summary Score and looking ahead on health equity measurement topics.
“CMS has articulated a clear vision to advance health equity and ensure our health care system helps everyone achieve their best possible health. The Health Equity Accelerator is designed to put that vision into practice,” said Rachel Harrington, NCQA Senior Research Scientist for Health Equity and Project Director. “Our team is deeply excited to begin putting our technical and subject matter expertise to work on these tasks.”
“We are eager to resume partnership with NCQA to advance CMS’s mission,” said RAND subcontract leader Steven Martino. “All of us at RAND are deeply committed to providing CMS OMH with the information and tools they need to address health care disparities and promote health equity.”
“We are energized to partner with NCQA to help CMS OMH in advancing their health equity vision and priorities,” said Denise Rainey, President and CEO of Rainmakers. “We understand this program is of fundamental importance to CMS OMH’s vision where individuals served by CMS’s programs Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the Health Insurance Marketplaces can achieve their highest level of health and well-being possible while eliminating disparities in health, health care access and health care quality.”
The contract award date was September 15, 2023.
NCQA is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving health care quality. NCQA Accredits and Certifies a wide range of health care organizations. It also Recognizes clinicians and practices in key areas of performance. NCQA’s Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS®) is the most widely used performance measurement tool in health care. In recognition for its leadership in diversity, equity and inclusion, NCQA has won the Excellence in Diversity Award from the Chesapeake Human Resources Association. NCQA’s website (ncqa.org) contains information to help consumers, employers and others make informed health care choices. NCQA can also be found at Twitter @ncqa and on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/company/ncqa.
Rainmakers is a certified 8(a), economically disadvantaged woman-owned small consulting firm founded in 2007 to provide expertise and highly practical solutions in support of the government and commercial sectors. Rainmakers’ principals are respected professionals with demonstrated success for clients facing evolving requirements and constituent needs. We develop, implement, and improve programs by applying insightful methodologies and delivering innovative results that address and simplify complex issues, streamline processes, and reduce costs. We have a genuine focus on achieving and maintaining an impeccable business relationship with our customers and supporting them in their efforts to improve processes. Client satisfaction is our most valuable asset and exceeding our customers’ expectations is our primary goal. For more information about our key cornerstones—excellence, passion, diversity, and knowledge—go online at www.rainmakerssolutions.com or call (443) 348-8067.
About the RAND Corporation
The RAND Corporation is a research organization that develops solutions to public policy challenges to help make communities throughout the world safer and more secure, healthier and more prosperous.