Earlier this week, MHA hosted the latest in our series of conversations about how to reduce health disparities in Maryland. For the two dozen attendees charged with this task at hospitals across the state, the focus was how to elevate the pursuit of health equity in the face of budget limitations. MHA presented a framework to begin thinking about how to capture the financial benefit of reducing health disparities in our communities.
In an example that used statewide data applied to a hypothetical hospital, we discovered that by bringing all racial groups to the same level as the best-performing group on readmissions, a hospital could see as much as a 1.5 percent gain ($3 million for a hospital with $200 million in inpatient revenue) via the quality-based incentive program.
Reducing health disparities is of course more important and worthwhile than just improved finances. It is central to our mission of care as we refashion hospital work to address not only somatic and behavioral care for individuals, but also the social determinants that affect the health of whole communities.
Because hospitals do not have limitless resources, you as a leader are often faced with choosing between several worthy approaches, any of which could mean that something else may not get done. Tools like this framework, as well as a potential template that will allow hospitals to plug in their own data to generate estimates of the financial impact of reducing health disparities, can help you make sure these are well-informed choices.
If you need any assistance on health disparities, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly, or contact Mark Rulle at email@example.com.
One more brief housekeeping item for this week: regular readers of MHA’s Update newsletter are accustomed to seeing the President & CEO’s message in this space. In the coming weeks, we’ll be expanding the use of Update to add more voices to the mix. Keep an eye out for messages from other senior MHA leaders who will offer ideas and insight on a variety of timely topics.