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TJC Healthcare Equity Certification Launches July 1

By Jonathan Springston, Editor, Relias Media

The Joint Commission (TJC) will launch its voluntary Health Care Equity Certification Program on July 1 as the industry strives to provide more equitable services and treatment to all patients.

The certification requires leaders to ameliorate disparities among patient populations and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion among staff. The program is built on five pillars: leadership, collaboration, data collection, provision of care, and performance improvement. The certification is open to TJC-accredited facilities as well as non-TJC-accredited facilities that operate under applicable federal regulations.

“Healthcare equity is not only an issue of social justice, it is a fundamental issue of patient safety and quality of care,” said Jonathan B. Perlin, MD, PhD, MSHA, MACP, FACMI, president and CEO of The Joint Commission Enterprise. “COVID-19 sharpened healthcare’s focus on fractures in care that are unacceptable. All people deserve access to safe, high-quality care.”

In January, TJC announced the elevation of healthcare equity to the level of National Patient Safety Goal. In February, the group began circulating pre-publication requirements for its new certification. Analysts with RTI Health Advance, a nonprofit research group, reviewed those requirements, calling TJC’s program “a critical next step for achieving more equitable care delivered by the foundation of U.S. healthcare, the hospital.”

The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), another U.S. healthcare accrediting body, launched its own health equity program in November 2021. Organizations can earn the Health Equity Accreditation or the Health Equity Accreditation Plus.

But it is not the only accreditation group offering equity designations. For example, the American Hospital Association’s Institute for Diversity and Health Equity offers the Certificate in Diversity Management in Health Care. Various medical schools also have made available these opportunities, such as the Johns Hopkins Health Disparities and Health Inequality Certificate Program and Vanderbilt’s Certificate in Health Equity graduate program.

For more on this and related subjects, be sure to read the latest issues of Healthcare Risk Management, Hospital Case Management, and Medical Ethics Advisor.