This Week in Health Equity


This week, we spotlight the recent 7th Annual Day of Racial Healing, new academic initiatives to build the workforce of the future, state and local-level action to promote equity, academic-industry partnerships to generate better information to guide ongoing health promotion efforts, and new national research that underscores the urgency of these issues.

Addressing systemic racial, ethnic, and other inequities in health is among the most pressing issues in America. The causes of these inequities, and the corresponding actions needed to tackle them head on, are multi-faceted. As it stands, marginalized communities, including people of color, rural Americans, LGBTQ+ people, and people with disabilities, face worse access to quality, affordable health coverage, which contributes to dangerous health outcomes.

Protect Our Care is dedicated to making high-quality, affordable and equitable health care a right, and not a privilege, for everyone in America.


Patient Engagement HIT: The Potential of Value-Based Care Models to Create More Equitable Patient Care. “Medical Home Network (MHN) isn’t new to care coordination. For 20 years, the Chicago-based accountable care organization (ACO) has focused on bringing care coordination into the primary care office, using community health workers to provide whole-person care. But now, as a part of the ACO REACH Model, MHN looks forward to a future free from the constraints of fee-for-service and focused on health equity and social determinants of health.

CMS launched the ACO REACH (Realizing Equity, Access, and Community Health) model in February 2022 as a replacement for the Global and Professional Direct Contracting model. The agency said ACO REACH will promote health equity and address health disparities while centering provider-led organizations. When an organization participates in a capitated value-based care model, it enjoys more freedom to innovate in community-based care. An organization like MHN participating in ACO REACH will be totally focused on outcomes, [Abigail] DeVries said, and less on fee-for-service.

DeVries indicated that something like the ACO REACH model is a key solution to ensure traditionally marginalized patients—who mostly visit FQHCs or else get their care from high-acuity settings like the emergency department—would be left behind. But that emphasis on traditionally underserved groups is made evident through certain parameters that participants must hit as part of ACO REACH. For one thing, MHN must report on its health equity data as part of its participation in the model.

A separate $250,000 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will help MHN train unlicensed folks as community health workers to support maternal health coaching efforts. These community health workers will be part of the care team, helping to coach during pregnancy and offering support post-partum.” [Patient Engagement HIT, 1/9/23]

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