Addressing Veteran Health-Related Social Needs: How Joint Commission Standards Accelerated Integration and Expansion of Tools and Services in the Veterans Health Administration

Justin M. List, Lauren E. Russell, Leslie R.M. Hausmann, Kristine Groves, Benjamin Kligler, Jennifer Koget, Ernest Moy, Carolyn Clancy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: The Joint Commission recently named reduction of health care disparities and improvement of health care equity as quality and safety priorities (Leadership [LD] Standard LD.04.03.08 and National Patient Safety Goal [NPSG] Standard NPSG.16.01.01). As the largest integrated health system, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) sought to leverage these new accreditation standards to further integrate and expand existing tools and initiatives to reduce health care disparities and address health-related social needs (HRSNs). Initiatives and Tools: A combination of existing data tools (for example, Primary Care Equity Dashboard), resource tools (for example, Assessing Circumstances and Offering Resources for Needs tool), and a care delivery approach (for example, Whole Health) are discussed as quality improvement opportunities to further integrate and expand how VHA addresses health care disparities and HRSNs. The authors detail the development timeline, building, limitations, and future plans for these tools and initiatives. Coordination of Initiatives: Responding to new health care equity Joint Commission standards led to new implementation strategies and deeper partnerships across VHA that facilitated expanded dissemination, technical assistance activities, and additional resources for VHA facilities to meet new standards and improve health care equity for veterans. Health care systems may learn from VHA's experiences, which include building actionable data platforms, employing user-centered design for initiative development and iteration, designing wide-reaching dissemination strategies for tools, and recognizing the importance of providing technical assistance for stakeholders. Future Directions: VHA continues to expand implementation of a diverse set of tools and resources to reduce health care disparities and identify and address unmet individual veteran HRSNs more widely and effectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-40
Number of pages7
JournalJoint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety
Volume50
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2024

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