People often refer to Massachusetts and the New England region as leading the nation in health care, due to its premier health systems and providers, and a history of innovation in the medical and technological space. While those are achievements to be proud of, health inequities still exist right here in our backyard.
I made the deliberate decision to transition from the financial services industry to health care back in 2010, inspired in part by the Affordable Care Act and the opportunity it represented for expanding health coverage to more Americans. Since then, I’ve led organizations in working toward addressing health inequities by improving access and affordability in health care. As President and CEO of Point32Health, a leading New England health services company, and a founding member of the Health Equity Compact (the Compact), a Massachusetts coalition of health care leaders with lived experience, I see the opportunity we have to transform our region from an equity perspective. Through collaboration, learning, and action, we are committed to working with those who see this as a moral, economic, and health priority.
Point32Health and our family of companies was created when Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Tufts Health Plan – two of New England’s leading health plans – combined. With over 2 million customers and national reach, we believe our role in advancing health equity stems from our purpose – to guide and empower healthier lives for everyone – regardless of age, health, race, identity, income, or zip code. With more than 50% of health outcomes driven by social determinants of health, we strategically prioritize and activate programs to address these needs.
As the only health plan in Massachusetts that serves every segment of the market, we also have a deep and intimate understanding of the critical disparities that exist in our health care system, from access to delivery and everything in between. Our diverse member population with varied needs means that improving health equity isn’t just a talking point, it is central to everything we do.
At Point32Health, we’ve adopted a “health equity mindset,” so that our efforts do not sit within one area of the organization, but rather are an area of focus for each colleague, regardless of role. In taking an organization-wide approach to owning outcomes related to our work, we can all proactively address any gaps in service.
To achieve our health equity vision, we launched the Point32Health Health Equity Program, which guided by a steering committee, focuses on addressing key health disparities improving health outcomes in pregnancy and postpartum care, rural health care, LGBTQIA inclusive care, and social determinants of health.
We are also committed to creating “safe zones” for members who live with substance use disorders and closing equity gaps in vaccination rates. To date, we have brought together over 70 ongoing health equity initiatives across our organization and continue to optimize our efforts.
Point32Health is also uniquely positioned to leverage forward- thinking research around disparities in the health care system through the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, a research and teaching collaboration created over 30 years ago between Point32Health and Harvard Medical School. The Institute’s Department of Population Medicine is the nation’s first medical school appointing department based in a health plan. Their work has helped to inform and evaluate new and innovative strategies for Point32Health to implement to continue offering members high-value, evidence-based care while working to improve health equity.
And Point32Health’s Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Tufts Health Plan are the first plans in our region, and among a few in our nation, to receive Health Equity Accreditation from the National Committee on Quality Assurance (NCQA).
At Point32Health, we understand that it is incumbent upon us to be laser focused on changing the way we look at data, create policy, tailor programs for marginalized populations, and educate our provider partners and members. We are just getting started, and I invite you to follow our efforts as we help our members and communities achieve their full health potential.