BOSTON, July 22, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston received the American Hospital Association's (AHA) inaugural Equity of Care Award for its efforts to reduce health care disparities and promote diversity within the organization's leadership and staff. The award was presented July 21 at the Health Forum-AHA Leadership Summit in San Diego.
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The AHA Equity of Care Award was created to recognize outstanding efforts among hospitals and care systems to advance equity of care to all patients, and to spread lessons learned and progress toward achieving health equity. In 2011, the AHA joined four national health care organizations to issue a call to action to eliminate health care disparities by focusing on increasing the collection of race, ethnicity and language preference data; increasing cultural competency training; and increasing diversity in governance and leadership.
"The work of these hospitals and health systems in promoting and improving equitable care is something the field can embrace and build on," said AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock. "They are leaders who are pushing us forward to ensure that all patients receive the highest quality of care and that hospitals reflect the communities they serve."
MGH has been a leader in the health care field on efforts to increase diversity and reduce disparities in care. MGH first established a system wide Committee on Racial and Ethnic Disparities in 2003 to focus internal attention on the challenge of disparities, improve the collection of race/ethnicity data, and implement quality improvement programs to reduce disparities. The Disparities Solutions Center (DSC) was established in 2005 in response to national and local calls to address disparities in health care. The Disparities Solution Center is an action-oriented center with a practical focus of moving the issue of disparities in health care beyond research and into the arenas of policy and practice. It serves as a national, regional and local resource for hospitals and other key health care stakeholders. The MGH Committee on Racial and Ethnic Disparities, in partnership with the DSC, has implemented programs that have improved outcomes and eliminated racial and ethnic disparities related to diabetes management, colorectal and breast cancer screening, patient experience, as well as quality and safety for patients with limited English proficiency.
In addition, MGH is working to embed diversity in all aspects of its strategic plan; undertaken efforts to increase the diversity of its leadership and governance; and developed hospital-wide cultural competency standards as well as deployed a number of specific cultural competency education and training programs for physicians, nurses and front-line staff. MGH also funds and supports many initiatives to increase staff diversity including the Multicultural Affairs Office, several diversity fellowships, English for Speakers of Other Language courses, scholarship programs and various Employee Resource Groups such as the Association of Multicultural Members of Partners, the Office for Women's Careers, the LGBT Committee and the Committee on Latino Initiatives.
"We are honored and humbled to receive this recognition from the AHA," said Dr. Peter Slavin, President of Massachusetts General Hospital. "The Institute of Medicine Report Unequal Treatment demonstrated the importance of incorporating efforts focused on equity into a comprehensive quality management program. We have made some progress in identifying and addressing health care disparities at MGH. However, we feel like we have just scratched the surface of this important quality topic. This award will inspire us to intensify our efforts further."
The Equity of Care Award will be presented annually by the AHA. Hospitals were required to complete an application describing their efforts to provide equitable care and had to participate in the Institute for Diversity in Health Management's most recent benchmarking survey on diversity and disparities.
About the AHA
The AHA is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the health improvement of their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which includes nearly 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks, other providers of care and 43,000 individual members. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends. For more information, visit the AHA Web site at www.aha.org.
About Massachusetts General Hospital
Founded in 1811, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) is the oldest and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. The 950-bed medical center each year admits approximately 48,500 inpatients, handles more than 1.5 million visits to its extensive outpatient programs at the main campus and four health centers, and records more than 95,500 emergency visits. The surgical staff performs more than 41,000 operations annually, and the MGH Vincent Obstetrics Service delivers almost 3,700 babies a year. The largest nongovernment employer in the Boston, MGH has more than 24,500 employees, including more than 4,100 registered nurses. MGH conducts the largest hospital-based research program in the U.S., with an annual research budget of more than $775 million. MGH and Brigham and Women's Hospital are founding members of Partners HealthCare System, a Boston-based integrated health care delivery system. For more information, visit www.massgeneral.org.
SOURCE American Hospital Association