Hennepin Healthcare is one of the first healthcare organizations to meet or exceed rigorous requirements for national health equity accreditation

The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) recently announced that Hennepin Healthcare earned its Health Equity Accreditation Plus accreditation, which recognizes organizations that lead the market in providing culturally and linguistically sensitive services, and work to reduce health care disparities. NCQA awards Accreditation to organizations that meet or exceed its rigorous requirements for health equity. Hennepin Healthcare was one of two healthcare organizations in the country to receive this recognition – the first time NCQA has accredited healthcare systems.   

Dr. Nneka Sederstrom, Hennepin Healthcare’s Chief Health Equity Officer, has been leading the way in the organization’s efforts to align their practices into policies.

“Having this accreditation highlights our commitment to the community to improve our health equity outcomes and truly be the trusted healthcare system for all.”

The application process, which in the past has only included health care insurance plans, required Hennepin Healthcare to go through not only the rigorous NCQA Health Equity Accreditation Plus steps, but also complete the foundational Health Equity Accreditation process.

“We had to do both at the same time,” said Dr. Sederstrom. “But we found that we had already accomplished most of the basics, so we could focus on the ‘plus’ requirements.”

NCQA’s Health Equity Accreditation Plus evaluates how well an organization complies with standards in the following areas: organizational readiness; race/ethnicity, language, gender identify and sexual orientation; access and availability of language services; practitioner network cultural responsiveness; culturally and linguistically appropriate services programs; reducing health care disparities; program to improve social risks and address needs; collection, integration and analysis of community and individual data; cross-sector partnerships and engagement; data management and interoperability; and referrals, outcomes and impact.

“Earning Health Equity Accreditation Plus shows that an organization is making a breakthrough in providing excellent health care to diverse populations. I congratulate any organization that achieves this level of distinction,” said NCQA President Margaret E. O’Kane. “Eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in health care is essential to improving the quality of care overall.”

NCQA is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving health care quality. NCQA accredits and certifies a wide range of health care organizations. It also recognizes clinicians and practices in key areas of performance. NCQA’s Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS®) is the most widely used performance measurement tool in health care. NCQA’s website (ncqa.org) contains information to help consumers, employers and others make more-informed health care choices. NCQA can be found online at ncqa.org, on Twitter @ncqa, on Facebook at facebook.com/NCQA.org/ and on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/company/ncqa.

About Hennepin Healthcare
Hennepin Healthcare is an integrated system of care that includes HCMC, a nationally recognized Level I Adult Trauma Center and Level I Pediatric Trauma Center and acute care hospital, as well as a clinic system with primary care clinics located in Minneapolis and across Hennepin County. It is operated by Hennepin Healthcare System, Inc., a subsidiary corporation of Hennepin County. Learn more about Hennepin Healthcare’s commitment to health equity at hennepinhealthcare.org/health-equity

Nneka O. Sederstrom named Chief Health Equity Officer

nneka-sederstrom-v3Nneka O. Sederstrom, PhD, MPH, MA, FCCP, FCCM has joined Hennepin Healthcare as its Chief Health Equity Officer. In this role, Dr. Sederstrom joins Hennepin Healthcare’s Executive Leadership Team to drive organizational work to assess, build, and execute strategies to cultivate a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion and transform how care is delivered. She is a recognized national speaker on many topics including racism, racial disparities, bias, crisis standards of care and treatment, end-of-life care and many aspects of diversity and ethics.

Working collaboratively with teams from across Hennepin Healthcare, Dr. Sederstrom will develop and implement sustainable practices that foster and affirm a patient care environment where disparities are eliminated and all patients can achieve optimal health outcomes. She will also foster community involvement through Hennepin Healthcare’s Community Advisory Board and build other alliances and partnerships to better align care and service models with the communities served by the healthcare system.

“Dr. Sederstrom brings a proven record as a change agent, the ability to bring diverse groups forward together realizing the importance of everyone’s role in optimal health and healing, and proven leadership transforming clinical practice to realized health outcomes,” said Hennepin Healthcare CEO Jennifer DeCubellis.

This extensive leadership experience in program development, training, speaking and writing about racism, social justice, ethics, and their impact on the delivery of healthcare comes from many significant roles held by Dr. Sederstrom, including most recently her position as Director of Clinical Ethics Department at Children’s Minnesota. Prior to this she was the Director of the Center for Ethics at MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC, where she also led the Spiritual Care Department and she was the creator and Executive Director of the Journal of Hospital Ethics.

On a local level, Dr. Sederstrom serves on the MN COVID Ethics Collaborative, Metro Compact Critical Care Core, Minnesota Medical Association Ethics and Legal Committee, and is Vice Chair of the Make-A-Wish Minnesota board of directors.

Dr. Sederstrom earned a BA in Philosophy from George Washington University, MA in Philosophy and PhD in Sociology from Howard University, and a MPH in Global Health Management from George Washington University. She is a Fellow of the American College of Chest Physicians and the American College of Critical Care Medicine, and an affiliate faculty member of the University of Minnesota Center for Bioethics.

“We feel strongly that to change the trajectory of our community, we need to change how healthcare is delivered from the ground up,” explains DeCubellis. “Dr. Sederstrom brings the vision, energy, and leadership to advance us on that journey. We are excited to welcome her and leverage the incredible talent across our organization in partnership with her to drive this work forward.”