Friday, December 02, 2016
by Kathryn Holleman
BJC | BJC HealthCare has joined health care organizations across the United States in signing the American Hospital Association (AHA) Equity Pledge. The pledge calls for identifying and reducing health care disparities in underserved communities, a goal that aligns with BJC’s efforts to remove barriers to health care access in the St. Louis region, says Clay Dunagan, MD, BJC senior vice president and chief clinical officer.
“This pledge is designed to positively impact health outcomes nationwide by fueling innovative pathways for care delivery to underserved populations while meeting quality and value metrics,” Dr. Dunagan says. Signing the pledge reinforces BJC’s commitment to reducing disparities and improving outcomes locally.
There has been growing awareness of disparities and the effect they have on the health of underserved Americans, says Dr. Dunagan. In St. Louis, the release of the landmark “For the Sake of All” report and the Ferguson Commission’s report shone a light on inequities in the region and their resulting impact on the area, especially on the African-American community.
BJC and its individual member hospitals and service organizations have been addressing health care disparities for some time. “‘Access to Outcomes,’ part of BJC’s strategic initiatives, for instance, is intended to help us better understand the barriers to access people face in the communities we serve in the interest of removing those barriers and finding innovative yet sustainable ways to meet our communities’ needs,” Dr. Dunagan says. “The most important desired outcome of this effort is a stronger and healthier St. Louis community.”
A group including leaders from the BJC Center for Clinical Excellence (CCE), the Centers for Diversity and Cultural Competence, and select BJC hospitals, in collaboration with BJC information services, BJC planning and BJC revenue cycle management, is working on evolving ways to facilitate system-wide disparities reporting, says Dr. Dunagan.
“The work of this group is important to developing an overall disparities-reporting strategy for the organization that will help us identify real issues that matter to our patients and facilitate efforts to resolve them,” says Dr. Dunagan.
Eliminating barriers and leveling disparities engrained in the region will take longer than the 12-month commitment called for in the AHA Equity Pledge, but BJC has pledged to continue the work for as long as it takes.
“By working together as a system to eliminate disparities in care, we can leverage our resources more effectively, focusing them where they will do the greatest good and avoiding activities with less potential,” says Dr. Dunagan. “We hope everyone in BJC supports these efforts in all ways as we move toward a future of care that provides for individuals and communities regardless of their circumstances.”
Kathryn Holleman, email@example.com
Tags : AHA equity pledge
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12/20/2016 8:42 AM
KUDOs to BJC! As the largest non-governmental employer in the state, it warms my heart to see us living our mission on a grander stage beyond the walls of our hospitals. The timing is right to sync up our internal D&I efforts with the external needs of our community. Thank you for embarking on even greater work that will truly make our communities better.