The Joint Commission is launching a voluntary Health Care Equity Certification Program, effective July 1. The advanced certification will recognize hospitals and critical access hospitals that strive for excellence in their efforts to provide equitable care, treatment, and services. 

Improving healthcare equity is a quality and safety priority at The Joint Commission. The Health Care Equity Certification builds on The Joint Commission’s longstanding accreditation requirements that support healthcare equity, as well as its new requirements to reduce health care disparities that were implemented on January 1 and are being elevated to National Patient Safety Goal (NPSG) 16 on July 1. 

The new certification requirements emphasize the structures and processes healthcare organizations need to decrease health care disparities in their patient populations; promote diversity, equity, and inclusion for their staff; and address the following five domains:

  • Leadership 
  • Collaboration 
  • Data collection 
  • Provision of care 
  • Performance improvement 

The Health Care Equity Certification will be available to all Joint Commission-accredited hospitals and critical access hospitals, as well as non-Joint Commission-accredited hospitals and critical access hospitals that comply with applicable federal laws, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Conditions of Participation. 

“Healthcare equity is not only an issue of social justice, it’s a fundamental issue of patient safety and quality of care,” says Jonathan B. Perlin, MD, PhD, MSHA, MACP, FACMI, president and CEO of The Joint Commission Enterprise. “This is why I made it a top priority for The Joint Commission to advance healthcare equity. COVID-19 sharpened healthcare’s focus on fractures in care that are unacceptable.”

Perlin adds, “All people deserve access to safe, high-quality care. The certification program will distinguish those organizations making health care equity a strategic priority and are collaborating with patients, families, caregivers, and external organizations to identify and address needs that help translate equitable healthcare into better health outcomes.”

To help healthcare organizations meet the certification’s requirements and elements of performance, The Joint Commission has developed the Health Care Equity Certification Resource Center. The resource center provides practical strategies, toolkits, templates, brief synopses, and videos. The curated collection of resources is organized by certification domain for direct accessibility.