URAC, the nation’s leading independent accreditation organization, announced its continued commitment to supporting organizations improving equity and the quality of care in America’s health care system. “For the past three decades, URAC has driven better quality care through our accreditation, measurement, and education programs,” said Shawn Griffin, MD, URAC President and CEO. “We believe now, as we believed at our founding, that every patient deserves access to the highest level of quality care,” he added.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare what we in health care have known for too long: poor communities as well as communities of color have disproportionally worse health outcomes and shorter lifespans than those in wealthy, white demographics,” noted Aaron Turner-Phifer, Vice President, Government Relations at URAC.
The current COVID-19 pandemic has only reinforced the existence of this inequity, with some minority populations being hit much harder by the health crisis than other groups. In addition, the health care industry has struggled to adequately represent African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans, and other demographics in the vital clinical trials designed to mitigate and ultimately eradicate COVID-19, experts have said.
“We believe that to truly ensure every person has access to quality care we must, as a country, address the environmental and social factors, including disparate treatment and impact on poor and minority communities, that create barriers to better health in poor communities and communities of color,” said Griffin, “In light of the pandemic and given the ongoing events that highlight the inequalities and injustices that exist in our society, URAC has formulated a plan to fulfill our mission and advance the cause of equity in our delivery system,” he added.
URAC will further its mission and invest in the future of health care by supporting organizations that share its commitment to tackling disparities in the American health care system. “We do not seek to generate revenue from our efforts but rather URAC will support organizations who are advancing public policies and whose business models directly improve equity in America’s health care delivery system,” said Jeff Carr, Vice President, Business Development at URAC.
For the remainder of this year and throughout the legislative sessions beginning in 2021 URAC will, for the first time, support multiple public efforts to advance health care policy. Some of the public policies that URAC will support include reducing maternal/infant mortality in minority populations, expanding access to primary care, and addressing social determinants of health.
URAC has closely examined its own operations over the past several months as it relates to equity in the workplace. “As part of this work, we have focused on how we can better support diversity, inclusion, and equity at URAC and across the broader health care delivery system,” Griffin said.
URAC will also support those organizations that are directly caring for patients in underserved and under-resourced communities and offer a discounted pricing program for publicly funded health clinics serving underserved populations that seek accreditation. “We do not want the cost of accreditation to be a barrier for these organizations to improve care and/or receive the recognition that goes with our accreditations,” said Turner-Phifer.
As URAC creates and revises its standards, they will partner with organizations with expertise in health equity and community health to include language and concepts in programs that advance solutions to environmental and social determinants of health in poor and underserved communities and communities of color.
Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2020, URAC is the independent leader in promoting health care quality through leadership, accreditation, measurement and innovation. URAC is a non-profit organization that uses evidence-based measures and develops standards through inclusive engagement with a range of stakeholders committed to improving the quality of health care. Our portfolio of accreditation and certification programs span the health care industry, addressing digital health, health care management and operations, health plans, pharmacies, physician practices, and more. URAC accreditation is a symbol of excellence for organizations to showcase their validated commitment to quality and accountability.