April marks National Minority Health Month, so before we head into May, WSHA would like to take a moment and reflect on some of the ways our state’s hospitals and health systems are providing care to our diverse communities. Access to health care was for increased for millions of Americans through the Affordable Care Act. This has enabled access to care across racial and ethnic lines so they can see a doctor. However, there is still important work to be done to reduce the gaps in health equity. Together we can step up and help reduce these gaps.
The first step toward addressing these disparities is starting a conversation and increasing awareness. Health equity is one of WSHA’s core goals, and in March, the WSHA board voted on several specific steps such as improving accuracy of data, doing reports to identify gaps, and implement action to address and improve health equity. The board also signed the American Hospital Association’s Equity of Care pledge.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently launched an online tool for mapping existing disparities, showing data such as prevalence, cost and mortality across various demographics. Just across our state, we can see that there is work to be done to improve health equity and ensure that all Washingtonians are receiving the same care and living long, healthy lives.
WSHA is committed to taking on this challenge to improve the quality of care for each patient, improve the health of the community and reduce the per-capita cost of care — the triple aim of health care. (Carol Wagner)