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Everything You Should Know About NCQA’s Health Equity Accreditation Programs

Health disparities can have a number of root causes, but disparities due to ethnicity, race, and language barriers are some of the largest in the United States.

Underrepresented populations, especially those with limited-English proficiency (LEP), are more at risk of medical errorshospital readmissions, and negative care outcomes. 

Language access plays a large role in addressing health disparities, but this is only one part of a larger objective. The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) also offers Health Equity Accreditation Programs. These programs are designed to create a followable framework that improves health equity for multicultural patient groups in the country. Take a look at the NCQA Health Equity Accreditation, what the process looks like, and why, as a provider, you should seek this accreditation. 

Why Pursue NCQA Health Equity Accreditation?

Providers that obtain NCQA Health Equity Accreditation achieve credibility in their respective fields. However, those who achieve accreditation also achieve quite a few other noteworthy objectives, such as: 

  • Gaining the ability to recognize health disparities in care 
  • Ensuring procedural processes are designed with health equity in mind 
  • Ensuring all patients have access to the same standards of care 
  • Reducing operational costs associated with inadequate care provision 
  • Aligning staff members and leaders with culturally competent practices 

Secondary benefits come from improving health equity. For example, patients have higher satisfaction rates with the care provider when language access is available, as well as improved patient safety and quality of overall care. 

How to Earn Accreditation From the NCQA 

The NCQA Health Equity Accreditation process is designed in a way to offer providers a roadmap that moves them toward improved health equity. The typical time frame to earn the distinction is between 9 and 12 months from the time an application is submitted to receiving a decision from the NCQA. 

Before applying for accreditation, providers must: 

  1. Schedule an overview discussion with the NCQA
  2. Purchase program resources to get a full understanding of the review 
  3. Perform a care gap analysis to compare current processes to the NCQA standards 
  4. Complete the application and choose a survey date 

After the application is submitted, the organization must work toward aligning the practice with the standards set forth by the NCQA program. From here, you will go through a survey submissions process and the accreditation status will be determined within 30 days. 

Health Equity Standards Set Forth by the NCQA

The NCQA follows a stringent scoring process during the accreditation process that is designed to ensure consistent comparisons among all accreditation seekers. The applying organization is scored on several levels, including patient experience, clinical performance, and how the organization measures performance. Some standards that must be met may include: 

  • The provider must collect data to measure patient care satisfaction rates and care outcomes 
  • The provider must provide effective language access to ensure appropriate language assistance 
  • The provider must have procedures in place to ensure they are culturally competent

In short, several aspects of the practice will be examined that have an impact on health equity, and those aspects may be more operational in nature or geared more toward patient interactions. 

Get Started Toward NCQA Accreditation With Language Access 

Meeting the requirements to gain accreditation from the NCQA can seem like a daunting process. However, GLOBO can help with one of the most important components: language access. To find out more about how we can help with NCQA Health Equity Accreditation, contact us for a free demo to get started.

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