Health Equity

Make Health Equity a Core Strategy in Your Rural & Community Hospital

To address health care disparities in hospital inpatient care, the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is adopting three health equity-focused measures in the Inpatient Quality Reporting (IQR) Program. These measures will directly affect your rural & community hospital IQR score. There are steps you can take now to prepare for this change, and as rural healthcare experts, our team is uniquely equipped to help you meet the requirements.

Understand the CMS Framework for Health Equity

This framework outlines five priorities that influence CMS’s health equity efforts and how they may operationalize each priority to achieve health equity and eliminate disparities.

These five priorities provide an integrated approach to build health equity for rural & community hospitals like yours.

Priority 1

Expand the Collection, Reporting, and Analysis of Standardized Data

Priority 2

Assess Causes of Disparities Within CMS Programs, and Address Inequities in Policies and Operations to Close Gaps

Priority 3

Build Capacity of Health Care Organizations and the Workforce to Reduce Health and Health Care Disparities

Priority 4

Advance Language Access, Health Literacy, and the Provision of Culturally Tailored Services

Priority 5

Increase All Forms of Accessibility to Health Care Services and Coverage

The Hospital Commitment to Health Equity Measure

Encompassing the priorities above, the Hospital Commitment to Health Equity measure (HCHE) will be a mandatory part of your IQR Reporting. HCHE will require you to verify that your rural & community hospital is reviewing and prioritizing equitable care for the patients you serve. The purpose of HCHE is to assess whether your rural & community hospital has prioritized health equity as a strategic priority and is taking steps to improve health equity.

Prepare Your Organization for the HCHE

Gather your team and start reviewing the five key domains outlined by CMS:

Does your strategic plan underscore the hospital’s commitment to reducing healthcare disparities within its community? The Stroudwater team can lead discussions around developing a new strategic plan that also has health equity as an organization priority.

Does your hospital collect valid and reliable demographic and social determinate of health data on patients? Our Data and Analytics team can assist your organization in developing an intake patient questionnaire to properly collect data.

Does your organization understand how to analyze the data it collects? Our Data and Analytics team can provide guidance on best practices for data collection, analyzation, and visualization.

Does your hospital collaborate with its community to reduce health disparities? Our Clinical team can work with your team to identify how to use the health-related social needs (HRSN) to bridge the gap in the community and develop care plans for specific patient populations.

Does your organization have a commitment to equity? The Stroudwater team can work closely with leadership to identify any gaps. You can get started by taking the Health Equity Gap Analysis.

How is HCHE Measured?

The Hospital Commitment to Health Equity is measured in 5 key areas, referred to as domains by CMS. Each domain has a value of one point for a total of 5 points. Points are only earned with a ‘yes’ answer to all of the questions. Further, your results will be public, so it is important to start planning for this now.

Commit to a Health Equity Plan

To learn more about how Stroudwater can help your rural & community hospital assess its readiness for the new IQR health equity measures fill out the form. We can help your team ask the right questions and identify the best solutions to incorporate health equity into your strategic priorities.

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