By Susan E. Funk, MPH, Associate Project Director, Measurement Coordination and Outreach, Department of Quality Measurement, The Joint Commission
The Joint Commission is committed to safe, high-quality healthcare for all, and healthcare equity is an integral part of that aim; our standards directly address healthcare disparities as a quality and safety priority. The Joint Commission requires accredited healthcare organizations to have and hold themselves accountable to an antidiscrimination policy, and, effective as of January 2023, new healthcare equity standards (applicable to hospitals and critical access hospitals, as well as some ambulatory care organizations and behavioral healthcare and human services organizations) require specific actions and efforts to address disparities.
While the new standards set minimum expectations for what healthcare organizations must meet, The Joint Commission also seeks to identify leading practices that have been implemented by healthcare organizations to reduce healthcare disparities and recognize those organizations that have gone above and beyond the requirements.
The Tyson Award
Now in its third year, the Bernard J. Tyson National Award for Excellence in Pursuit of Healthcare Equity, named for late Kaiser Permanente Chairman and CEO and champion for healthcare equity Bernard J. Tyson, recognizes healthcare organizations and their partners that led initiatives that achieved a measurable, sustained reduction in one or more healthcare disparities.
All types of healthcare organizations that directly deliver healthcare and have addressed disparities for any vulnerable population, including but not limited to race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status, may apply. In their application, organizations must provide data demonstrating how they have improved a disparity.
The recipient of the 2023 Tyson Award will receive national recognition for their important work. Under the Tyson Award, The Joint Commission aims to:
- Celebrate healthcare organizations that go above and beyond to address healthcare disparities in their communities.
- Disseminate healthcare equity case studies and best practices to its network of more than 22,000 accredited and certified healthcare organizations.
- Encourage other healthcare leaders to take on targeted initiatives to improve healthcare disparities at their organizations.
The time is now to spotlight healthcare disparities
As previous recipients of the Tyson Award have demonstrated, reducing healthcare disparities is possible, but these issues will not go away on their own. Healthcare disparities call for intentional, targeted action as well as standardized data collection to truly understand the problem at hand and implement meaningful solutions.
The winning application will be featured on The Joint Commission’s website, honored by Joint Commission and Kaiser Permanente leadership at an award ceremony, as well as invited to submit an article detailing their successes to The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.
We want to hear directly from organizations doing this important work to provide a template for other organizations looking to take on healthcare equity initiatives. Please visit the Tyson Award webpage for more information and to apply at no cost. There are several resources available for applicants, including:
- application preview
- last year’s winning applications
- application tip sheet
Susan E. Funk, MPH, is an Associate Project Director, Measurement Coordination and Outreach in the Department of Quality Measurement at The Joint Commission. She is operations lead for the Bernard J. Tyson National Award for Excellence in Pursuit of Healthcare Equity and the John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Awards. She also leads teams that produce and release educational webinars regarding standards and requirements for accreditation and certification, measurement, and quality and safety topics. Susan has more than 20 years of experience in quality and performance measurement.