2 min read

Are Hospitals Doing Enough to Promote Health Equity?

By Isaac Michaels, MPH

From the Literature
Urban hospitals mention health equity in their community health needs assessments (CHNAs), but relatively few of them outline specific activities to promote health equity. This finding, published in the journal Health Affairs by Carrol-scott et al., arises from a content analysis of CHNAs from 179 urban hospitals located in 28 US cities. The authors conclude that hospitals need incentives and additional capacity to address underlying causes of health inequities.

Our Thoughts
As dedicated health professionals and trusted leaders in their communities, hospital officials are committed to promoting health equity, but additional incentives can be catalysts. Beyond their moral commitments to health equity promotion, many hospitals are already financially incentivized as accountable care organizations (ACOs) by value-based payments. All ACO payments are affected, directly or indirectly, by health disparities and other measures of health equity. Therefore, hospitals participating in ACOs have greatly aligned ‘double bottom line’ moral and financial incentives to invest in strategies that address upstream determinants of health inequity.

Despite these incentives, hospitals cannot work on health equity if they lack sufficient capacities. Among these, we believe that data is the foundational capacity, prerequisite to all the others. Addressing health disparities and promoting health equity, especially with targeted action, requires data on the geographic and demographic distributions of health outcomes and health determinants.

I.H. Michaels, LLC empowers clients by providing those data for their communities. We are committed to developing the highest-quality secondary health data reports to support CHNAs. Contact us to learn more.

Carroll-scott A, Henson RM, Kolker J, Purtle J. The Role Of Nonprofit Hospitals In Identifying And Addressing Health Inequities In Cities. Health Aff (Millwood). 2017;36(6):1102-1109.

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Niskayuna, NY