The state where all hospitals are on track to earn new Joint Commission certification

All hospitals in Massachusetts are meeting a health equity accreditation standard that The Joint Commission introduced last year, making it the first state to be recognized for the accomplishment. 

The standard requires hospitals to demonstrate that closing health disparities is a key patient safety and quality priority by meeting the following requirements: Identify a person to lead healthcare equity improvement initiatives; assess patients' health-related social needs; analyze quality and safety data to spot disparities; create an action plan to improve health equity; take action when goals in the action plan are not met; and keep stakeholders informed on progress. 

Achieving the standard is the first step to obtain The Joint Commission's recently launched health equity certification, which all of the state's hospitals plan to earn by 2025, according to a joint news release from the Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association and accrediting body. 

The efforts are part of the 1115 Medicaid waiver in Massachusetts, which requires the state's hospitals to embed health equity into patient care and close persistent disparities. The waiver program is driven by results, meaning hospitals can only access funding once they meet program goals. 

Eight U.S. hospitals have so far earned the health equity certification, half of which are part of Edison, N.J.-based Hackensack Meridian Health. 

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