Minnesota Hospital Association

Quality & Patient Safety

Equity and Health Care Disparities

Minnesota’s hospitals and health systems serve and are part of increasingly diverse communities. They are working hard to meet the changing needs of their communities and ensure that every individual receives the highest quality of care. MHA members can log in and watch a video overview here.

Social factors can have a strong impact on overall health. Housing, transportation, educational attainment, food security and access to economic resources are just some of the social influencers of health affecting the health of individuals and families. Minnesota’s hospitals and health systems are working toward solutions and providing support to improve the health and lives of all Minnesotans.

MHA and its members are on a journey toward equity and inclusion. Hospitals and health systems regularly conduct community health needs assessments in partnership with their communities to respond to the health and wellness needs of their communities. On a statewide level, MHA coordinates data, quality and safety improvement activities; education events; and meetings with lawmakers on equity and diversity topics.

To reduce health inequities, hospitals and health systems are making efforts to align quality improvement goals with disparities solutions. MHA developed a road map and resources to help hospitals and health systems identify, address and eliminate health care disparities.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Partnership for Patients Hospital Improvement Innovation Network Health Equity Affinity Group, which included MHA, developed a health equity organizational assessment road map outlining evidence-based recommendations and standards for the development of prevention and quality improvement programs that align process improvements with outcome data. The road map reflects published literature and guidance from relevant professional organizations and regulatory agencies, as well as identified proven practices.

MHA members can log in to the website at the top-right corner of this page to view the health equity organizational assessment road map. 

REL data collection

Race, ethnicity and language (REL) data is information that hospitals and health systems ask patients to provide when they receive care. Hospitals and health systems use this data to identify health disparities affecting their patient populations and use quality improvement tools and techniques to address these disparities. This data also helps ensure that hospitals and health systems are equipped to provide patients the resources they need, including interpreter services, culturally responsive care, multilingual patient information materials, health care staff who have cultural competence and more. 

A full 100% of MHA member hospitals and health systems share their REL data with MHA – with identifying information removed – so that data-led health care equity improvement work can be conducted at a statewide level. Using this data, MHA works with members to identify disparities and outcomes and target responses appropriately. For example, if the MHA Perinatal Committee sees a disparity in obstetric hemorrhage in a specific community based on REL data, the committee can help identify and address barriers to care to help reduce the disparity.