Addressing Disparities in Care to Achieve Health Equity

Health Equity Guide Cover

The MHA’s mission is to advance the health of all individuals and communities, and that mission has never been more critical than it is today. The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified the longstanding health disparities our communities face that must be addressed.

There is ample evidence of racism’s impact on health, and healthcare systems have a moral obligation to equalize care, starting first by identifying and addressing any racism that may exist within their organization. Additionally, healthcare leaders and hospitals can collaborate to combat systemic racism and disparities and work towards health equity for all Michiganders.

The MHA and MHA Keystone Center have long been committed to addressing health disparities, which is a foundational concept that shapes all the organization’s quality improvement and safety efforts. Below are resources to support healthcare organizations on their journey to advancing health equity.

MHA Pledge to Address Racism and Health Inequities

While efforts to deliver equitable care are not new for most health systems, our nation’s current state demands a more deliberate approach. Health equity and the commitment to diversity and inclusion in healthcare must be a leadership-driven priority that aligns with the organization’s mission and vision.

That is why the MHA Board of Trustees endorsed the language in the MHA Pledge to Address Racism and Health Inequities, committing to addressing systemic racism and health disparities that affect people of color and all marginalized populations in our communities. All MHA member chief executive officers are asked to sign this pledge, indicating a unified commitment to addressing disparities, dismantling institutional racism and achieving health equity.

Members who wish to formally sign the pledge may contact the MHA Keystone Center.

Addressing Health Disparities to Achieve Health Equity Guide

The MHA Keystone Center developed a comprehensive guide, Eliminating Disparities to Advance Health Equity and Improve Quality, to assist your organization in addressing health disparities to achieve equitable care by providing key strategies, recommendations for action, implementation levels, and resources to support progress.   

The MHA Keystone Center encourages organizations to use this guide to assess the current level of hospital implementation around key strategies aimed at reducing disparities, achieving equity and improving quality. The guide will assist organizations in prioritizing and acting on identified gaps, so deliberate and purposeful action is taken to ensure that the outcomes across all patient populations are equitable.

Leaders should ask themselves …

  • “How do I know if we have disparities, and how can I prevent disparities that exist in our patient outcomes?”
  •  “How can I create a culture and system that reduces disparities to improve quality, save lives and reduce cost?”

Health Equity Organizational Assessment

On the journey to eliminating disparities in care and promoting health equity, the critical first step for organizations is to assess their current activity around the seven categories, identified through national research, as critical components of an organization’s ability to identify and address disparities.

I. Data Collection
II. Data Collection Training
III. Data Validation
IV. Data Stratification
V. Communication of Findings
VI. Addressing and Resolving Gaps in Care
VII. Organizational Infrastructure and Culture

The Health Equity Organizational Assessment (HEOA), initially developed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Partnership for Patients Health Equity Affinity Group, is designed to help the MHA Keystone Center understand hospitals’ health equity efforts, address potential gaps and disparities in care, and focus efforts and technical assistance. 

The HEOA provides a detailed report with custom feedback to help your organization identify key priorities within the seven categories. Organizations that have completed the assessment are encouraged to continue tracking improvement. If your organization has not completed the assessment, you may do so by requesting access to KeyMetrics.  

Resources to Support Your Health Equity Journey

Additional resources are available to support your organization to eliminate disparities and advance health equity:

  • Pages 19 - 21 of the guide, Eliminating Disparities to Advance Health Equity and Improve Quality, contain a resource compendium that stratifies resources among the seven categories found in the HEOA.
  • The MHA Community site serves as a shared space for hospitals and members to access resources, connect with colleagues, as well as share information and ideas related to health disparities.
  • Information on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Health Equity website.
  • The World Health Organization’s Social Determinants of Health website.

Featured Articles

Read the latest on health equity efforts from the MHA and other organizations.

CEO Report - Advancing Health Equity

MHA CEO Brian Peters focuses on eliminating health disparities to advance health equity and improve quality in communities. 

Leadership Corner: Eliminating Disparities to Advance Health Equity and Improve Quality

Brittany Bogan, FACHE, CPPS, senior vice president of safety and quality, MHA, and executive director of the MHA Keystone Center, urges healthcare organizations to prioritize and act on addressing health disparities using a newly released guide.

MHA Issues Statement on Death of George Floyd and Racial Injustice

The MHA has issued a statement on the death of George Floyd and the racial injustice faced by people of color. 

For more information, please contact the MHA Keystone Center.

MHA 100 Year Anniversary

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