CMS Outlines Strategy to Advance Health Equity | King & Spalding

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Pursuant to Executive Order 13985, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government, federal agencies and departments, including HHS, have recently released their plans to advance equity. On April 20, 2022, CMS announced a plan of action towards providing affordable health care for all people, regardless of their background, and driving health equity.

As a part of this plan, CMS delineated the salient role health equity will play in the work of all CMS Centers and Offices. This work includes sharing best practices across states, health care facilities, providers, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, people with lived experience, researchers, and other stakeholders. Aiming to build health equity into their core work, CMS outlined several goals, including to:

  • Close gaps in health care access, quality, and outcomes for underserved populations;

  • Promote culturally and linguistically appropriate services to ensure understandable and respectful care and services that are responsive to preferred languages, health literacy, and other diverse communication needs;

  • Build on outreach efforts to enroll eligible people across Medicare, Medicaid/CHIP and the Marketplace;

  • Expand and standardize the collection and use of data, including on race, ethnicity, preferred language, gender identity, disability, income, and other factors across CMS programs;

  • Evaluate policies to determine how CMS can support safety net providers, partner with providers caring in underserved communities, and ensure care is accessible to those who need it;

  • Ensure engagement with and accountability to the communities CMS serves in policy development and the implementation of CMS programs;

  • Incorporate screening for and promote broader access to health-related social needs, including greater adoption of related quality measures, coordination with community-based organizations, and collection of social needs data in standardized formats across CMS programs and activities;

  • Ensure CMS programs serve as a model and catalyst to advance health equity throughout the nation’s health care system, including with states, providers, plans, and other stakeholders; and

  • Promote the highest quality outcomes and safest care for all people, using the framework under the CMS National Quality Strategy.

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