NCQA Attends National Health Equity Summit

LGBTQIA+ health, racism, COVID-19, big data. These are just a few of the topics discussed at the virtual National Health Equity Summit last week.  

diversity equity inclusion

The 4-day event, supported by The Commonwealth Fund, brought together a variety of innovative healthcare organizations to share their research and models in the pursuit of health equity. NCQA was proud to be a part of the conversation. We believe the discussions at the conference will help all attendees make more progress towards an equitable, accessible, patient-centered healthcare system. 

CMS Tackles Health Equity 

We were particularly excited to hear two keynote speakers from CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure and CMMI Director Liz Fowler. NCQA works closely with CMS and was excited to hear more about their plans supporting the Biden administration to advance  health equity. We also align with their positions on value-based payment models and meaningful data collection and commit to working with them to achieve our shared goals. 

“I am so pleased that this [Biden] administration has made [equity] so central,” said Brooks-Lasure. “It will be the first question that I ask my team . . . the people coming to meet with me . . . what you’re asking for, the policies, how are they advancing health equity?” 

Dr. Fowler echoed these sentiments, emphasizing the importance of unity going forward. “There is truly a unique opportunity to identify strategies and solutions to address equity in the health system,” she said. “We must seize the moment and build on this momentum but also try to do so with some uniformity across the health system.” 

NCQA’s Work For the Community 

The conference provided many examples of case studies, care models, and supply chain strategies that could be implemented by healthcare organizations to improve the quality for both patients and providers.   

NCQA’s own Sarah Scholle and Keri Christensen presented “Lessons Learned and Promising Practices: Using Community Resource Referral Platforms to Impact Social Determinants of Health”. Their presentation discussed the implementation of Medical Home Network’s online communication and electronic medical record platform, and any barriers in its use in community-based organizations and Medical Homes.   

You can read more about the project and its findings in our previous blog post and provide feedback as we continue the discussion to improve and implement community referral platforms.  

Moving Forward 

Health equity is extremely multifaceted. To improve measurement, we need to better understand our data. NCQA is currently expanding our efforts to include demographic metrics in our measurement standards to deepen our understanding of social determinants of health. This will be a continuous learning effort for NCQA and the health system. But, we hope that gathering this data can be the first step to overcoming barriers patients face to access high-quality, low-cost care.