CMS Health Equity Award

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CMS Announces the Recipients of the 2024 CMS Health Equity Award

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is proud to announce this year’s recipients of the CMS Health Equity Award. The CMS Health Equity Award is awarded to organizations that have had the most significant impact on health equity in their community, a specific population, or the United States. These organizations also demonstrated using the CMS Framework for Health Equity to advance health equity and reduce disparities in health care access, quality, and outcomes.

The CMS Health Equity Awardees were recognized at the CMS Health Equity Conference on May 29-30, 2024.

The 2024 awardees are:

  • Latino Connection, Harrisburg, PA, Community-Accessible Testing & Education (CATE) Initiative

    In 2014, George Fernandez founded a community-based organization in the heart of Pennsylvania to create and activate programming in low-income communities to address every aspect of the social determinants of health, Latino Connection. Their Community-Accessible Testing & Education (CATE) initiative was launched in response to the COVID-19 pandemic with the aim of addressing disparities in access to essential resources and education among underserved communities. With Latino Connection being the first Latino and LGBTQ+ organization to launch such a program, CATE represents a groundbreaking effort to provide critical support to populations disproportionately affected by the pandemic, including minorities, low-income individuals, LGBTQ+ communities, and those residing in urban areas.

    The impact of CATE has been profound, reaching thousands of Pennsylvanians with lifesaving resources and education. Between 2020 and 2022, nearly 9,000 COVID-19 tests and over 17,000 vaccinations were administered across the state, particularly in vulnerable and underserved communities who may not have had access otherwise. CATE also provided 500 flu shots and 10,000 PPE kits, resources, and education in both English and Spanish to the more than 37,000 people that attended all of their community events combined. Latino Connection's CATE initiative exemplifies the transformative power of community-driven interventions in addressing health disparities.

    By prioritizing inclusivity, accessibility, and collaboration, CATE has not only provided critical support during the COVID-19 pandemic but has also laid the groundwork for long-term improvements in health equity across Pennsylvania.

  • Augusta Health, Shenandoah Valley, VA, Primary Care Mobile Clinic Program

    Celebrating its 30th Anniversary, Augusta Health is a 255-bed, non-profit, independent hospital serving communities of the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, in a semi-rural setting. Embracing their vision to be “a national model for community-based healthcare”, Augusta Health reaches out to neighborhoods with rural geographic barriers and local cities with high poverty rates and adverse social and health barriers. . One of the ways they respond to acute deficits in access to health care in the community is through the implementation and growth of their Primary Care Mobile Clinic program (Today known as the Augusta Health Neighborhood Clinics). 

    Since its official launch in September 2022, the Primary Care Mobile Clinic program has expanded to operate at 14 unique sites each month. Sites have included community centers, churches, a fire house, the mayor’s office, and homeless shelters. Neighborhood selection is based on identifying communities in the most need through analysis using the University of Wisconsin’s Area Deprivation Index (ADI) score and mapping techniques.  Building upon the analytics, the key component for their success is having a community partners with local expertise in key social services like housing and food insecurity. 

    Within the first full year of the program, the Primary Mobile Clinic has provided more than 1,700 primary care visits for 825 patients at 17 different community sites. Services vary by location and are based on community need.

About the Award

Health equity is defined by CMS as the attainment of the highest level of health for all people, where everyone has a fair and just opportunity to attain their optimal health regardless of race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, geography, preferred language, and other factors that affect access to care and health outcomes. CMS is working to eliminate avoidable differences in health outcomes experienced by people who are disadvantaged or underserved, and to provide the care and support people need to thrive.

In previous years, CMS recognized organizations who have demonstrated a strong commitment to health equity by reducing disparities affecting vulnerable populations, such as racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities, sexual and gender minorities, individuals with limited English proficiency, members of rural, Tribal, and geographically isolated communities, and other individuals impacted by persistent poverty and inequality.

The 2024 CMS Health Equity Award will continue this focus by recognizing organizations that are using the CMS Framework for Health Equity to advance health equity and reduce disparities in health care access, quality, and outcomes.

Past Winners

Page Last Modified:
05/30/2024 04:46 PM