Health Equity | MedStar Health
A group of diverse healthcare professionals

MedStar Health's commitment to health equity

Health inequities reflect a complex web of systemic factors that exist nationally and can negatively impact the health of historically marginalized communities. At MedStar Health, we believe every person deserves an equal opportunity to achieve their highest level of health. This is at the core of our identity and essential to how we treat people.

We will be bold in addressing health inequities impacting our communities by ensuring an inclusive experience, delivering high-quality and safe care equitably, and giving support to those who face social barriers to living their healthiest life possible.

Our actions

Strategy overview

MedStar Health’s operational infrastructure for health equity ensures it is integrated into existing clinical governance structures and is a part of the fabric of how we deliver high quality and safe care for everyone.

The organization established the following areas of focus:

  • Healthcare disparity reduction
  • Health equity data optimization
  • Equitable care delivery
  • Addressing unmet social needs

Healthcare disparity reduction

We identified priorities for healthcare disparity reduction in hospital care, transitional care, perinatal care, and ambulatory care. As part of our system strategy to advance health equity, we routinely examine and monitor healthcare disparities that exist among historically marginalized communities, including but not limited to the following: racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with limited English proficiency, and low-income individuals who are uninsured or Medicaid insured.

Each MedStar Health acute care hospital is committed to advancing health equity in sepsis care, a life-threatening medical emergency. Additionally, in partnership with MedStar Health Clinical Care Transformation and Home Care, each acute care hospital and rehabilitation facility is committed to reducing readmission disparities and supporting smooth care transitions after hospitalization for every community it serves. Further, recognizing the ongoing national maternal health crisis, each MedStar Health hospital that provides obstetrics services is committed to reducing severe maternal morbidity, which disproportionally affects people of color.

In ambulatory care, our 300+ primary care and specialty clinics across the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia have prioritized colorectal cancer screening in their disparity reduction program. This collaborative effort aligns the expertise of our Gastroenterology, Primary Care, and Community Health teams.

Priorities for healthcare disparity reduction

Healthcare disparity infographic

Health equity data optimization

We are focusing efforts to promote complete and accurate information on each individual’s demographics, preferred language, and unmet social needs to support health equity initiatives. MedStar Health associates receive cultural humility training to foster an inclusive patient experience when collecting this information at the time of registration.

Equitable care delivery

As part of our commitment to ensuring care is delivered equitably, we are embedding an equity lens throughout our safety operations, including the event reporting and event review process. We are also assessing existing clinical algorithms, policies, and procedures to identify and address any structural sources of inequities that may exist.

Addressing unmet social needs

Social and economic factors contribute significantly to an individual’s health status.

To support individuals who are facing social barriers to being healthy and accessing high-quality care, we screen all of our hospital patients for unmet social needs (e.g., transportation barriers, food insecurity). Patients who are hospitalized and need special assistance are provided one-on-one support to address their social needs. We also launched the MedStar Health Social Needs Tool, which is universally available to our communities for navigation to local support services.

Meet our health equity partners

Community engagement

A group of diverse healthcare professionals

The voice of our communities is key to ensuring we identify the right solutions and right strategies to advance health equity.

Members of our Community Advisory Council, which includes diverse representation of historically marginalized communities, serve as critical partners in the development of each health equity initiative.