Health Equity Accreditation Aims to Provide Actionable Roadmap

URAC said the health equity accreditation will help organizations that have a commitment to health equity and guide their actions forward.

A new health equity accreditation from URAC is set to help healthcare organizations assess and guide their efforts to address health disparities, the accreditation body said in a recent press release.

The health equity program, developed in partnership with the National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF), will center on standards such as “promoting integration of health equity principles; supporting industry initiatives to eliminate health disparities; and ensuring that high-risk racial and ethnic populations, as well as people with disabilities, receive optimal health care,” URAC said.

The health equity accreditation comes as more healthcare organizations express a commitment to ending health disparities. But although organizations acknowledge that putting an end to health inequities is a high priority, very few have an action plan, URAC said, citing survey data from Vantage Health Technologies.

"The COVID-19 pandemic underscored a critical need to address health care disparities and improve health outcomes for historically marginalized groups," Shawn Griffin, MD, president and CEO of URAC, said in a statement.

"Quality health care must be equitable and address systemic obstacles,” Griffin added. “As health equity continues to evolve, we must transform the lens through which organizations evaluate and commit to health equity principles. NMQF's expertise, along with the diverse group of industry leaders we convened, offered tremendous insights throughout the development process of our new accreditation.”

URAC said that its accreditation will help organizations with their Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) and offer organizations a framework for addressing health inequities. Organizations will use performance data to report how they have addressed health disparities for their focus populations.

Importantly, URAC said the accreditation acknowledges the external factors that forge health disparities, including social determinants of health, healthcare access, and genetics. The health equity standards included in the program work to acknowledge those external factors.

Organizations participating in the program will report on three focus areas, which include organizational commitment, program plan, and equitable services and support. It will take participants six months to complete the program using an internal scoring method that will measure progress in promoting health equity.

URAC said it developed the health equity accreditation in partnership with NMQF and an expert advisory council. The URAC Health Equity Council comprised individuals representing different races, ethnicities, gender expressions, sexual orientations, and professional backgrounds.

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