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CMS Pledges New Health Equity Strategy

April 21, 2022

This week, CMS released its new action plan to close gaps in health access for all people and a “commitment to make health equity the first ‘pillar’ of its strategic vision.”

On Wednesday, the agency called on hospitals, health insurers, researchers, and other stakeholders to join its mission for health equity, including sharing best practices to address systemic disparities in care.

“We can’t achieve our health system goals until everyone can attain the highest level of health,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “That’s why I am inviting the health care industry to work alongside CMS as we transform the way patients are cared for in our country.” 

The CMS action plan includes the following goals:

  • Closing gaps in health care access and building outreach to enroll more people in health coverage
  • Promoting culturally and linguistically appropriate services
  • Expanding data collection on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, and other metrics across CMS programs
  • Incorporating screening to promote broader access to health-related social needs
  • Ensuring CMS programs serve as a model and catalyst to advance health equity

“Health equity will be embedded within the DNA of CMS and serve as the lens through which we view all of our work,” Brooks-LaSure said. “Our vision is clear and our goal is straightforward—we will not stop until every person has a fair and just opportunity to attain their optimal health.” 

CMS plans to host a meeting with the health care community this summer to discuss its health equity initiatives, focusing initially on improving maternal health outcomes.

Additional information about the CMS health equity strategic plan is available online.

HAP and Pennsylvania’s hospital community join the nationwide effort to promote health equity across the commonwealth. During 2022, we will strengthen our commitment to improve equity while addressing core racial, cultural, and ethnic disparities that affect the health of our communities.

In addition, the American Hospital Association recently launched a Health Equity Roadmap to help health systems “chart their own paths toward transformation.”

For more information about HAP’s health equity initiatives, contact Laura Stevens Kent, HAP’s senior vice president of advocacy and external affairs, or Jennifer Jordan, vice president, regulatory advocacy.