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Joint Commission tackles health equity with new accreditation standards

15 Aug 2022 1:08 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)
The Joint Commission, an independent accrediting body for hospitals, will introduce new standards on Jan. 1 aimed at reducing healthcare disparities, calling the effort a quality and safety priority. [Healthcare Dive 8.15.2022]
  • Targeted interventions to detect and address differences in care among racial, ethnic and other historically marginalized groups should be integrated into providers’ quality improvement programs, alongside efforts to prevent healthcare-acquired infections, medication errors and workplace violence, the commission said in a report out this summer.  Full article here>
  • The commission’s new accreditation requirements will apply to organizations in its ambulatory care, behavioral healthcare and human services, critical access hospital and hospital accreditation programs.
  • Despite extensive research into the problem, disparities in access to healthcare and quality of care persist. The issue is a priority for the Biden administration, which has directed federal agencies including the HHS to advance racial equity initiatives. The CMS announced in its final inpatient rule that it was going to update its measurement and reporting methods to identify potential gaps in care between groups of patients.

    The pandemic has widened disparity gaps. In November 2021, the Joint Commission published a report that showed that Black and Hispanic people with COVID-19 infections experienced nearly three times the rate of hospitalization as White patients.

    While racial care disparities have been documented in published research, studies have also shown disparities in care for women, older adults, people with disabilities and other historically marginalized groups, according to the report.

    “Although health care disparities are often viewed through the lens of social injustice, they are first and foremost a quality of care problem,” the commission said.


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