- The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Office of Minority Health (CMS OMH) announced Tuesday its first plan to address health equity in Medicare.
- The CMS Equity Plan for Improving Quality in Medicare details six priority areas for improvement and looks to reduce health disparities within four years.
- The plan is intended to assist populations facing a high proportion of health burdens such as
disease and care access barriers. These groups include racial and ethnic minorities, sexual and gender minorities, people with disabilities and those living in rural areas.
CMS says it spent a year developing its plan in collaboration with NORC at the University of Chicago and based its priorities on evidence, opportunities identified and input from a variety of stakeholders across the US.
“As we strive to create a healthcare system that provides better care, spends dollars more wisely and creates healthier people, CMS is committed to achieving equity for minority and other underserved populations and eliminating health disparities among Medicare beneficiaries,” CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt said in a prepared statement.
The priorities are to expand the collection, reporting and analysis of standardized data; evaluate impacts of disparities and integrate equity solutions; develop and disseminate promising approaches to reduce disparities; increase the healthcare workforce's ability to meet the needs of vulnerable groups; improve communication and language access for those with limited English and disabilities; and increase the physical accessibility of healthcare facilities.
“We know that in order to achieve the goals of the plan, we need to work with many stakeholders, and we hope that as we start to implement the activities in the plan, we will see a number of them join us on the path to equity,” said Cara James, director of the CMS OMH.