CMS Framework for Equity in Health Care


Newly Released: CMS Framework for Equity in Health Care

The CMS Office of Minority Health issued the CMS Framework for Health Equity to address health disparities as a core element in all of our work—in every program and in every community. Using five priority areas, CMS will use this framework to design, implement, and operationalize policies and programs to support health for all people served by our programs, eliminating disparities in avoidable health outcomes experienced by people who are disadvantaged or underserved, and providing the care and support our enrollees need to thrive.

Read the CMS Health Equity Framework 2022-2032 (PDF)

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Priority 1: Expand the collection, reporting and analysis of standardized data

CMS seeks to improve our collection and use of comprehensive, interoperable, standardized data on individual-level demographic and social determinants of health (SDOH), including race, ethnicity, language, gender identity, sex, sexual orientation, disability status and SDOH. By increasing our understanding of the needs of those we serve, including social risk factors and changes in community needs over time, CMS can use quality improvement and other tools to ensure that all people have access to equitable care and coverage.

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Priority 2: Assess the causes of disparities in CMS programs and address disparities in policies and operations to close the gaps

CMS is committed to moving beyond observation and into action, assessing our programs and policies for unintended consequences and making concrete, actionable decisions about our policies, investments, and resource allocation. Our goals are explicitly to measure the impact of our policies on health equity, to develop sustainable solutions that close health gaps and health care access, quality and outcomes, and to invest in solutions that address health disparities.

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Priority 3: Building the capacity of health organizations and the workforce to reduce health and health care disparities

CMS is committed to supporting health care providers, plans, and other organizations that ensure people and families receive the highest quality care and services. Health care professionals, particularly those serving minority and underserved communities, have direct contact with individuals and families and can address disparities at the point of care. CMS policy, program, and resource allocation decisions must build capacity among providers, plans, and other organizations to enable stakeholders to meet the needs of the communities they serve.

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Priority 4: Expanded language access, health literacy and provision of culturally appropriate services

CMS must ensure that all individuals we serve, including members of underserved communities, have equitable access to all CMS benefits, services, and other support and coverage. Language access, health literacy, and the provision of culturally appropriate services play a critical role in health care quality, safety, and patient experience, and can impact health outcomes. CMS has opportunities within our operations, direct communication and outreach to participants and consumers, and guidance to plans, providers, and other partners to improve the quality of health care, patient safety, and the experience people have in the health care system.

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Priority 5: Increase all forms of health care access and coverage

CMS has a responsibility to ensure that individuals and families have access to health care services when and where they need them, in a way that meets their needs and preferences. CMS should seek direct feedback from people with disabilities, including physical, sensory and communication, intellectual, and other disabilities, to understand their experiences navigating CMS-supported benefits, services, and coverage and to tailor our programs and policies , to ensure equitable access and quality.

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