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NQF’s Health Equity Program

Improving Health and Healthcare Quality for All
through Advancements in Health Equity

NQF’s Health Equity Program is a comprehensive, multi-year, and action-oriented
approach to reduce disparities and advance the highest quality healthcare across
communities, populations, and socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic groups. The
Program builds on NQF’s renowned ability to bring stakeholders to the table and
a decade of NQF thought leadership to promote health equity and healthcare
quality improvement.

Despite overall improvements in public health and medicine, disparities in
health and healthcare persist. Disparities are differences caused by inequities
linked to social, economic, and/or environmental disadvantages. NQF’s Health
Equity Program will work to eliminate health disparities by addressing social
risk factors that adversely affect excluded or marginalized groups. The goal
of this work is to achieve health equity, an essential component of improving
health and healthcare quality for all.

NQF’S HEALTH EQUITY PROGRAM: development to address critical gaps (NQF’s
Measure Incubator™)
• Aligns with NQF’s transformation of pursuing
improvement in healthcare quality for all • Brings together partners to leverage national
• Includes a planned, broad portfolio of cross-
cutting projects that put into action the
guidance laid out by NQF’s substantive work
in health equity, including: n Pa
ra performance
» The NQF Roadmap to Promote Health Equity


and Eliminate Disparities—the blueprint

for achieving health equity and reducing
disparities. The Roadmap details how
stakeholders, including clinicians, providers,

payers, community partners, measure
and at-risk
Equity of best

developers, and policy-makers, can work to
reduce disparities and promote health equity

» NQF’s two-year trial to risk adjust certain tic INFORM


s payment Da
healthcare performance measures for social
risk factors to better understand how social
risk factors can influence health and health

• Incorporates NQF’s leadership of practical,
action-oriented initiatives (e.g., NQF’s National
Quality Partners™), and facilitation of measure Improve Healthcare
Quality for All

How NQF Will Drive Greater Health Equity
Identifying Disparities Influencing Inspiring Informing Payment
and Those Affected Performance Implementation of
NQF will convene
by Health Inequity Measurement Best Practices through
thought leaders and
Innovative Approaches
NQF will promote a NQF will facilitate the experts to address the
common understanding development of needed NQF will lead and impact of payment on
and standardized measures to promote engage strategic health equity, including
language around health equity and reduce partners to implement through risk adjustment,
health equity in order disparities effective interventions stratification, and
to address data and best practices to payment reform.
NQF will drive toward
and infrastructure promote health equity
the systematic approach NQF will explore
challenges related to and reduce disparities.
laid out in the NQF emerging issues
the identification of
Health Equity Roadmap NQF will disseminate related to risk adjusting
disparities and at-risk
for using measures to effective interventions, performance measures
eliminate disparities and best practices, and for social risk factors
NQF will gather promote health equity. lessons learned in such as income,
innovative strategies for reducing disparities. education, and health
social risk factor data literacy. This work also
NQF will facilitate
collection and use this will explore unresolved
the use of innovative,
data to support the questions raised by
successful interventions
detection and reduction NQF’s Trial Period for
by creating practical,
of disparities in health Risk Adjustment for
applied, implementation
and health across the Social Risk Factors
nation. (SES Trial Period).

Achieving Health Equity ENGAGEMENT:
NQF’s Health Equity Program will drive toward an Taking Collective Action to Advance
ideal state of healthcare where: Health Equity

• Healthcare delivery is improved for all people, Meaningful progress toward health equity will
communities, and populations; require collective action and innovative partnerships.
NQF will engage its more than 430 member
• High quality and timely data on social risk factors organizations representing the full spectrum of
and disparities is available; healthcare, the nation’s quality experts, as well as
• All stakeholders work together to systematically additional stakeholders and potential partners in
reduce disparities, including through the use of this effort.
proven interventions; NQF is seeking external funding for the Health
• Interventions are evaluated to demonstrate Equity Program from a variety of sources and
progress toward health equity; interested parties. In 2017, NQF received funding
from the Aetna Foundation to develop an approach
• Performance measures are used to ensure
for addressing the social determinants of health and
rewards or penalties are fairly assessed and
from The Urban Institute to develop a measurement
based on true differences in performance; and
framework for food insecurity and housing instability.
• Payment models reward those reducing Multiple opportunities are available to fund various
disparities. components and projects within the Program.

To learn more, please contact NQF at