Leadership in Equity and Diversity (LEAD) Council

In 2002, the Institute of Medicine produced the landmark report, Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities, which outlined the stark reality that disparities in health care exist and are associated with worse health outcomes. Since that time, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality publishes the National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report (QDR) each year, which tracks the nation’s performance on health care access, quality, and disparities. These reports have increased awareness that disparities are systemic across health care industry, but outcomes have not changed.

Put simply, racism and inequitable treatment are a serious public health concern.

In July 2020, our CEO Maulik Joshi published a call to action titled: Hundreds of Days of Action as a Start to Address Hundreds of Years of Inequity in the NEJM Catalyst. In response, Meritus Health formed the Leadership in Equity and Disparity Council better known as “LEAD,” to help eliminate disparities and inequality both within our health system, and throughout our community. The LEAD Council is a representative cross-section of employees, providers and management from our health system who desire to take action and affect positive change.

Meritus Health values diversity, inclusion and the health equity of the community we serve by empowering a diverse workforce to eliminate disparities in the care we provide to our patients. Health equity allows our patients to realize their full health potential no matter who they are, where they live, or how much money they make. To deliver on our mission, execute our vision, and embody our values, Meritus Health will strive to achieve health equity for the patients we serve. The commitment to promote equitable practices and to eliminate disparities ultimately results in the core work of improving quality and patient safety.

“We can no longer only dream of equality and hope for change. We must act. Together, we will eradicate racism and inequity in all forms and commit to fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion.” Maulik Joshi, Dr.Ph.

FY2021 LEAD Accomplishments

  • Developed the LEAD Charter
  • Created and published Meritus Health statement on Racism and Diversity
  • Created workgroups with volunteers from LEAD
    • Data measurement and analysis
    • Training/Education
    • Health Equity Index
    • Established the LEAD Dashboard
  • Provided review and input on the “Meritus Medical Center Prevention and Intolerance of Discrimination, Harassment, Hate and Violence in the Workplace” policy in February, 2021

An update on the goals that we committed to reaching by July 1, 2021:

  1. Develop implicit bias training and provide to 25% of our staff, then continue ongoing education for all employees. Partially met;
  1. Identify at least three quality measures stratified by race/ethnicity that demonstrate disparities and implement improvement initiatives; Met;
  1. Examine and report the diversity of leadership and workforce as compared to that of the community; Met;
    • Implemented the Rooney Rule; met 39.7% rate during recruitment
    • Total number of diverse employees supervisor and above (self disclosed); 6.8%
  1. Collect social determinants of health data (socio-economic, housing, education, food security) for all patient visits and update annually; Met
    • First year goal to incorporate SDOH in annual visits at rate of 10% or greater; Exceeded goal at 21.3%
  1. Build strong community relationships with diverse stakeholder groups; Ongoing
    • Zion Baptist Church health hub
    • St. Joseph and Church of the Nazarene Spanish speaking congregations
    • Other faith communities through Parish Nurse program
    • African American Health Awareness & Wellness Network (A.A.H.A.W.N.)
    • Hagerstown Hopes (LGBTQ)
  1. Share our progress toward meeting these commitments on our website and update at least annually; Met
    • Complete year end review
    • Post update on website and new goals, August 2021

LEAD Dashboard FY21

Missed goals follow up actions:

  • Unconscious bias training for all staff
    • Performance group for live education in October 2021
    • Unconscious Bias training pushed through LMS for those unable to attend October live education sessions
  • Rooney Rule implement policy 90% of the time
    • Continue to measure and follow policy

LEAD Dashboard FY22