The Rise to Health Coalition seeks to catalyze individuals and organizations committed to health equity and justice.
WHY IT MATTERS
Dr. Kedar Mate, president and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, announced the new coalition at the recent IHI Forum 2022 in Orlando, Florida.
Joined by Dr. Aletha Maybank, chief health equity officer and senior vice president of the American Medical Association, and Glenn Harris, president of Race Forward and publisher of Colorlines, the three healthcare leaders discussed the importance of Rise to Health, according to IHI’s announcement.
According to the coalition’s new website, Rise to Health seeks to build, change and transform healthcare. The coalition will build capacity, expand knowledge and mobilize to advance equity and racial justice in the healthcare ecosystem; influence and fundamentally change policy, payment, education, standards and practices; and sustainably change healthcare mindsets and narratives around equity and racial justice.
Mate urged forum attendees to change the narrative: “Inequity in American healthcare is not our destiny, equity is,” he said.
He reflected on the prevalence of burnout at all levels of healthcare, the financial challenges health systems face and the prevalence of health inequities as interrelated challenges. Mate also cited examples of how quality improvement methods can address inequalities.
Other founding members of the coalition include The Groundwater Institute, the American Hospital Association, the National Association of Community Health Centers, the Council of Medical Specialty Societies, Health Begins and PolicyLink.
“By doing this together, we will change the story on equity from one of confusion and competition to one of hope, possibility, collaboration and alignment,” Mate said.
The AMA, IHI, Genentech and the Commonwealth Fund are funding the Rise to Health coalition.
THE LARGER TREND
Earlier this year, AHA launched its Health Equity Roadmap, a framework that customizes resources and action plans for health systems working to eliminate barriers to care.
The organization indicated that health inequities are associated with economic losses, citing more than $10 billion in illness-related lost productivity and $200 billion in premature deaths.
With great barriers to healthcare, work on addressing the root causes of inequity is not enough to engender change, according to Melissa Sherry, vice president of social care integration at Unite Us, a tech company that builds coordinated care networks of health and social service providers.
Among the many examples she shared on health equity in action in 2022, she said the health disparity-related quality measures and mandated reporting requirements for health plans, hospitals and health systems under the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ health equity framework will help better understand how programs and policies affect health inequities and health disparities.
“While I am really hopeful about the momentum we are seeing across healthcare to address health disparities and their underlying causes, there is much work left to do,” Sherry told Healthcare IT News in a look ahead at health equity in 2023.
Because health disparities are multifaceted, multiple sectors must work together to understand what is working – and not working, she said.
“Identifying and addressing underlying social needs; funding new, trusted workforces and community-based services; and ensuring healthcare entities take an active role in measuring and addressing disparities are really important steps,” Sherry said. “But even taken together, they are not enough to solve the complex causes behind health inequities.”
ON THE RECORD
“The time has come for a system-wide approach – where health care organizations, individual practitioners, payers, professional societies and pharmaceutical, research and biotech organizations come together and align activities to make the whole ecosystem of healthcare more equitable,” Mate said at the forum, according to the announcement.
“Hospital and health system quality improvement and equity are inseparable in order to improve health outcomes for all,” said Leon D. Caldwell, senior director of health equity strategies and innovation for AHA’s Institute for Diversity and Health Equity, in a separate statement about the coalition on hospital association’s website.