to main content Health Care Equity | The Joint Commission

Our vision is that all people always experience safe, high-quality health care.

Today however, health care quality and health outcomes are often worse for racial/ethnic minorities, women, people living in rural communities, people with disabilities, those living in poverty, people with lower educational attainment, and other historically marginalized groups. And although health care equity is often viewed through a social justice lens, we understand it to be first and foremost a quality-of-care problem. Which means to achieve sustainable improvement we need to approach health care equity in the same way we approach other crucial patient safety priorities — by understanding the root causes and implementing targeted standards of care.


State-of-the-art health care equity accreditation standards, which are now a National Patient Safety Goal, help you put patients at the heart of everything you do.


Unmatched health care equity accreditation resources arm your team with tools and strategies to succeed.


Discover resources ranging from toolkits, templates, guides and more to help learn strategies on how to successfully achieve Health Care Equity Certification.
,,Every patient deserves the right to safe, equitable health care. All health care organizations have a responsibility to identify and address the disparities that their unique patient populations face.,,

Dr. Jonathan B. Perlin, M.D., Ph.D. - President and CEO - The Joint Commission

Impact of Disparities in Health Care

Even today, economic, social, and other injustices continue to create barriers to accessing high-quality health care. These statistics tell a powerful story. Working side by side, we can write a new chapter.

Maternal mortality rate for Black women is 4x higher than that for non-Hispanic White women


Hispanic women are 20 percent more likely to die from cervical cancer than non-Hispanic White women


Asian Americans are eight times more likely to die from hepatitis B than non-Hispanic Whites


Diabetes rates are more than 30 percent higher among Native Americans and Latinos than among Whites

From accreditation standards that enable a strong foundation, to specialty programs that elevate your maturity and unique resources that enable your success — we’re here to support you each step of your journey.

Listen to a video about stratification of key patient safety and quality measures to examine health care disparities. The information can assist organizations on the journey to health care equity, regardless of where they are on the path.

Identify disparities webinar Screen Reader Text

Today, tens of thousands of health care providers across the nation count on Joint Commission accreditation to help them accelerate process standardization that leads to reduced variability and sustainable improvements in quality and safety for those they serve. Our accreditation standards include several long-standing requirements that address health care equity issues.

In 2023, new dedicated health care equity standards became effective and integrated into our hospital, ambulatory health care, and behavioral health care and human services accreditation programs. These standards were among the first of their kind and help to create a consistent national baseline related to the equitable delivery of health care.

Our Health Care Equity Accreditation Resource Center includes innovative strategies leveraged by your peers as well as a growing list of useful industry resources right in one convenient place, directly aligned to the standards requirements.

Access the Accreditation Resource Center

Joint Commission certifications align to your organization’s health care equity priorities and provide an unparalleled pathway to raise the bar for care delivery across the populations and communities you serve.

The Joint Commission’s Health Care Equity Certification Program requirements were built upon the Joint Commission’s long-standing accreditation standards supporting health care equity and newer requirements to reduce health care disparities. This voluntary program recognizes hospitals and health systems that strive for excellence in their efforts to provide equitable care, treatment, and services.

Health Care Equity Certification

To help organizations close the gaps in access and quality among patient groups where disparities are frequent, The Joint Commission offers a voluntary advanced certification for health care equity. The program provides the structure to bridge the gap to equitable care by looking at equity issues in all aspects of care, treatment, and health care delivery.

Along with providing the structure to better care and access, the certification can also help standardize key processes to reaching health care equity goals. Achieving the certification may also help differentiate your organization to payers, employers, and government agencies.

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Collaborating on Health Care Equity

Improving health care equity requires the efforts and engagement of many people in the health care industry, from organizations at a national level, individual organizations in their patient communities and every type of health care stakeholder in between.

A key partnership The Joint Commission participates in is the Advancing Equity Through Quality and Safety Peer Network, which was developed in conjunction with the American Medical Association and Brigham & Women’s Hospital.

The program is designed to help health systems focus on equity issues in all aspects of quality and safety practices to help improve health outcomes for marginalized populations. The goals of the program include:

Highlighting strong practices and implementation of strategies for identifying and addressing inequities.
Facilitating peer-to-peer learning.
Developing a pipeline of leaders capable of redesigning equitable health care systems.

The following organizations are participating in the network:

  • Atlantic Medical Group/Atlantic Health
  • Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • Ochsner Health
  • The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics
  • University of Wisconsin Hospitals & Clinic
  • Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Another key partnership — a recently released publication published by The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) and Joint Commission Resources. Fundamentals of Health Care Improvement: A Guide to Improving Your Patient’s Care, 4th edition, provides information on diagnosing, measuring, analyzing, changing and leading improvements in health care. This edition provides a focus on health equity and disparities of care brought to light by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Learn why the National Committee for Quality Assurance, The Joint Commission, and the National Quality Forum joined the Sync for Social Needs coalition.

Health care organizations that prioritize the importance of health care equity and are working to raise the quality of health care among underserved populations and communities, deserve to be recognized. The Joint Commission teamed up with Kaiser Permanente to honor Bernard J. Tyson, Kaiser’s late chairman and chief executive officer, who worked hard to address disparities in the U.S. health care system. The two organizations established The Bernard J. Tyson National Award for Excellence in Pursuit of Healthcare Equity.