Equity & Access Updates from the National Stage

Feb 11, 2024 | Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

By La Toya Watkins

It is truly inspiring to see the progress made to close the gaps in access and quality among patient groups with frequent health disparities. Recent efforts by The Joint Commission (TJC) and The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to address systemic issues that impact care are significant steps in the right direction. 

The JEDI committee is thrilled to share that TJC is offering a new national advanced certification for healthcare professionals, demonstrating the ongoing commitment to advancing quality and safety in healthcare. 

In addition, the CMS has released the CMS Framework for Health Equity 2022-2032, representing a substantial step forward in embedding health equity across all CMS programs, with goals of strengthening the healthcare system’s infrastructure and creating synergies to drive structural change. This comprehensive 10-year approach emphasizes the importance of achieving health equity and supporting healthcare organizations, professionals, and partners in their activities. The framework consists of five priorities:

  1. Expand the Collection, Reporting, and Analysis of Standardized Data                                                             
  2. Assess Causes of Disparities Within CMS Programs and Address Inequities in Policies and Operations to Close Gaps                                                                                                                                                                      
  3. Build Capacity of Health Care Organizations and the Workforce to Reduce Health and Health Care Disparities                                                                                                                                                                              
  4. Advance Language Access, Health Literacy, and the Provision of Culturally Tailored Services                                                                                                                                                                                            
  5. Increase All Forms of Accessibility to Health Care Services and Coverage          

These priorities provide an integrated approach to building health equity into existing programs.

As we progress, the JEDI Committee is excited about the opportunities to collaborate and drive positive change in the healthcare industry. Together, we can work towards a future where high-quality healthcare is accessible to all. 

La Toya Watkins, with 15 years of healthcare administration experience in various settings, has been an active member of the American College of Healthcare Executives for several years, and has been a dedicated participant in both the Southern and Northern California Chapters. Currently, La Toya volunteers on the JEDI committee, contributing to the committee’s 2023 accomplishments, which included significant initiatives such as virtual networking events, Face-to-Face events on DEI implementation and traction, and the creation of the first DEI Regents Award for CAHL. Additionally, the CAHL DEI Toolkit was recently updated to include a conceptual framework, marking important progress in addressing health disparities and access issues in the healthcare industry.