Program Aims to Improve Health Equity by Uncovering Social Risks, Addressing Social Needs, and Assessing SDoH Interventions
The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) announced the launch of Health Equity Accreditation Plus, a program that helps health care organizations that are relatively advanced in their efforts to improve health equity by addressing and identifying inequities in health care services and outcomes.
Building on NCQA’s Health Equity Accreditation framework, the Health Equity Accreditation Plus program is for organizations that have implemented core Health Equity Accreditation activities and are ready to leverage new processes and cross-sector partnerships to ensure that care is high quality, equitable and continuously improving.
Health Equity Accreditation Plus focuses on collecting data on community social risk factors and patients’ social needs; establishing mutually beneficial partnerships that support community-based organizations; building meaningful opportunities for patient and consumer engagement; and identifying ways to improve social need referrals and partnerships that make them possible.
Seven health plans and two health systems participated in the Health Equity Accreditation Plus pilot program, beginning in late 2021, testing program concepts and applications. NCQA used their feedback to enhance and streamline Health Equity Accreditation Plus.
“Too many people experience significant inequities in health outcomes based on their demographic characteristics or identities,” says NCQA President Margaret E. O’Kane. “For health organizations to make a difference in the lives of the people they serve, they must understand the social determinants of health that affect people in their communities and have clear, effective processes to provide appropriate support.”
Together, Health Equity Accreditation and Health Equity Accreditation Plus distinguish organizations as organized, effective and trusted partners committed to health equity. Both programs can help health plans, care delivery organizations, managed behavioral health care organizations, population health organizations, wellness organizations and others meet their health equity goals.