Path to Equity Requires Clear Goals, Bold Pace

September 21, 2020 By: Bob Atlas, President & CEO

Hospitals and health systems have a clear imperative to make real strides on health equity. At Friday’s MHA Executive Committee meeting, Donna Jacobs of UMMS, chair of the MHA Health Equity Task Force, and Dr. Sherita Golden of Johns Hopkins Medicine, chair of MHA’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Advisory Group, outlined the opportunity. They spoke of pursuing sustainable change and “to do well by the people we serve.”

The guidance of these member-led groups is vital as we seek fieldwide consensus on goals and measures for the MHA Racial Equity Commitment launched in June.

Every MHA member is working on its own. As a field, the Executive Committee believes we can report transparently, measure success, and hold each other accountable. They told hospitals to be bold in the pace of change but also to be humble as we listen in conversations with our teams and communities.

What we’re doing now leverages the AHA’s 2015 Equity of Care pledge and furthers MHA’s health equity initiative from 2018. To move more quickly, to see real improvement, the committee was clear it will take dedication and action, not just words.

We’re simultaneously pushing for policy change. Our Legislative & Regulatory Council has endorsed advancing health equity as a legislative priority. MHA is a key proponent of the Health Equity Resource Communities (HERC) initiative announced last week. Under a bill to be introduced in the Maryland General Assembly, areas with poor health outcomes could become HERCs, eligible for grants, tax incentives, and loan repayment assistance to support access to quality health care. This program aims to lessen racial, ethnic, disability-related, and geographic health inequities.

We’ll soon share metrics for these efforts. We must come together as an industry and set bold goals and deliverables. Hospitals and health systems will demonstrate leadership and we will make a difference.

Bob Atlas
President & CEO

  • 2020