Skip to Main Content
Main Content

Health Equity Awards


CMS Equity Plan for Medicare
From Coverage to Care
Connected Care:
The Chronic Care Management Resource
Rural Health
Advancing Health Equity R & D
Health Observances
Webinars & Events
Health Equity Award

CMS Health Equity Awards

Image of Dr. Cara James and two awardees at the CMS Quality Conference Spotlight

From November 5th through December 7th, 2018, CMS is accepting nominations for the CMS Health Equity Award. The award will be given at the CMS Quality Conference, 2019. CMS looks forward to recognizing another organization who is closing gaps in health care quality, access, or outcomes for our priority populations.

Download nomination form

CMS recognizes that all beneficiaries should be able to achieve their highest level in care and works to ensure that disparities in health care quality and access are eliminated. Starting in 2018, CMS began recognizing organizations demonstrating a similar commitment to health equity by reducing disparities among the CMS beneficiaries they serve, particularly among racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities, sexual and gender minorities, and those living in rural areas.

CMS looks forward to recognizing another organization who can demonstrate results. The successful organization will be reducing disparities in health care quality, access, or outcomes for a priority population, including: racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities, sexual and gender minorities, or individuals living in rural areas. 

2018 CMS Health Equity Award

In February, CMS presented its inaugural CMS Health Equity Award to Novant Health, serving communities in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia, and Kaiser Permanente, serving communities in California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia, Oregon, and Washington.

Kaiser  Permanente
As one of the nation’s first health care providers to racially integrate its hospitals and waiting rooms, as well as hire a diverse workforce, Kaiser Permanente has seven decades of experience promoting diversity, inclusion, and health equity. This longstanding commitment to equitable care has enabled Kaiser Permanente to become an industry leader in developing and implementing best practices, approaches and evidence-based medicine aimed at improving health equity outcomes. As one instance of these targeted improvements, Kaiser Permanente’s Hypertension Program Improvement Process has bolstered blood pressure control rates among its members across racial/ethnic groups, showing significant and sustained improvement in hypertension control levels for Kaiser Permanente’s African American Medicare members, ages 18 to 85.

From 2009 to 2017, the percentage of African American Medicare members with controlled hypertension increased from 75.3 percent to 89.6 percent. During this time, as a result of Kaiser Permanente’s focused and sustained efforts, the African-American–White disparity in hypertension control rates was reduced from a high of 5.3 percentage points to 2.2 points (a 58 percent decrease). Throughout this period, hypertension control rates for all racial and ethnic groups have consistently surpassed the HEDIS national 90th percentile for Medicare members. Kaiser Permanente has ensured that all members receive the highest standards of care while closing the gap in outcomes between two populations they serve.

Novant  Health
Novant Health’s mission is to improve the health of communities, one person at a time. To support this mission, their President and CEO signed the #123forEquity Pledge to Act to eliminate healthcare disparities in April 2016 and a multi-disciplinary team was identified to focus on health equity. This team discovered a disparity in pneumonia readmission rates. The Novant Health team performed 100 comprehensive medical record reviews, looking at 29 clinical and socioeconomic data elements in order to understand the root causes of this disparity. As a result, Novant Health identified opportunities related to the discharge process, patient support after discharge, comorbidities and mortality rate. The team formed five work streams to develop targeted interventions: discharge, population health, home visits, access to healthcare and creating awareness.

Within one year, between January-September 2017, Novant Health successfully closed the gap: the disparity for African American patients who were readmitted with a diagnosis of pneumonia was reduced by 50% (from 4% to 2%) in comparison to the other populations served. This project has created a framework and blue print that is being utilized for other health equity initiatives both within the system and in the communities that Novant Health serves.

.