MHA Keystone Center Releases Health Equity Guide to Provide Guidance on Eliminating Health Disparities

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Advancing Health EquityThe Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA) Keystone Center today released a new guide, Eliminating Disparities to Advance Health Equity and Improve Quality, designed to provide practical guidance for healthcare organizations seeking to eliminate disparities in care to advance health equity.

Organizations are encouraged to use the guide to evaluate the current level of hospital implementation around key strategies aimed at reducing disparities to achieve equity and improving quality for better patient outcomes. This resource will guide organizations to prioritize and act on identified gaps so that thoughtful and focused action is taken to ensure that the outcomes across all patient populations are equitable.

“The focus on inequities faced by racial and ethnic minorities in our country has never been greater and has a profound impact on the healthcare system,” said MHA CEO Brian Peters. “The release of this guide displays that eliminating implicit bias and inequities in care and addressing social determinants of health are key priorities of Michigan hospitals.”

Research shows that racial and ethnic minorities and individuals with limited English proficiency are more likely to suffer adverse health events, have a longer length of stay in the hospital and a higher readmission rate. In addition, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement found that the total cost of racial/ethnic disparities in 2009 was approximately $82 billion, including $60 billion in excess healthcare costs and $22 billion in lost productivity, with the economic burden of these health disparities in the U.S. projected to increase to $126 billion in 2020 if the disparities remain unchanged.

“Influences such as socioeconomic status, access to healthcare and education, as well as the social and community context where patients reside play a significant role in creating established disparities in health. These social determinants of health can be mediated to improve the health of those we serve”, said Michigan Public Health Institute CEO Renée Branch Canady, PhD, MPA.

The healthcare received by an individual is found to influence their health and well-being by only 20%. Socioeconomic factors and health behaviors comprise most elements that influence a person’s health and future outcomes.

The MHA Keystone Center has long been committed to addressing health disparities, which is a foundational concept that shapes all the organization’s quality improvement and safety efforts. In addition to the guide, the MHA Keystone Center provides educational opportunities, resources and peer-to-peer learning to support health equity.