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Capitol Correspondence - 04.26.22

CMS Releases Health Equity Pillar of Strategic Plan

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the first pillar of its strategic plan, which seeks to advance health equity. CMS’ health equity strategy aligns with the Biden administration’s focus on advancing racial equity and support underserved communities, pursuant to Executive Order 13985.

The health equity goal for the Medicaid program is to close gaps in coverage, access, and quality of care among people who are Medicaid-eligible or enrolled and to improve data collection to analyze and address disparities in coverage and care.

CMS also laid out overall health equity goals including:

  • Closing the gaps in health care access, quality, and outcomes for underserved populations.
  • Promoting 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.
  • Building on outreach efforts to enroll eligible people across Medicare, Medicaid/CHIP and the Marketplace.
  • Expanding and standardizing the collection and use of data, including data about race, ethnicity, preferred language, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, income, geography, and other factors across CMS programs.
  • Evaluating 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.
  • Ensuring engagement with and accountability to the communities CMS serves in policy development and the implementation of CMS programs.
  • Incorporating screening for and promoting 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.
  • Ensuring CMS programs serve as a model and catalyst to advance health equity through our nation’s health care system, including with states, providers, plans, and other stakeholders.
  • Using the framework under the CMS National Quality Strategy, aiming to promote the highest quality outcomes and safest care for all people.