Article by Mark Dengler, RMS President –
NYS Health Equity Impact Assessment Requirement
Are you planning on submitting a Certificate of Need (CON) application in New York State? If so, most CON applications are now required to conduct a Health Equity Impact Assessment (HEIA). This is something brand new, having taken effect at the end of June 2023. NYS is the first state to officially mandate this activity which demonstrates New York’s commitment to ensuring community engagement and equity in the healthcare facility planning process. If a healthcare facility or system is considering a new project that incorporates the CON process, it must consider whether they will be affected by this HEIA requirement.
When an HEIA is required, the healthcare entity will need to contract with an “independent entity” to conduct the work. The independent entity will be responsible for evaluating the potential impact the CON project will have on community residents, particularly identified medically underserved populations (such as racial and ethnic minorities, women, people with disabilities, immigrants, etc.). The HEIA will outline the impact the project will have on the lives of each identified medically underserved group. It will also describe how the project will optimize the community healthcare system, improve access, promote health equity, and reduce health disparities.
All NYS Article 28 facilities such as hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, diagnostic and treatment clinics, midwifery birth centers, and ambulatory surgery centers must determine if an HEIA is required. CON applicants are free to select their own consultant (or independent entity) to conduct the HEIA so long as that consultant can attest to the state’s No Conflict-of-Interest Form. This means that the independent entity does not have a financial interest in the approval of the CON application or is assisting in developing the CON application. The independent entity also needs to have experience doing health assessment and community engagement work.
Independent entities are required to complete the Health Equity Impact Assessment Application. This requires a five-step evaluation process (a) STEP 1: Scoping; (b) STEP 2: Potential Impacts; (c) STEP 3: Mitigation; (d) STEP 4: Monitoring; and (e) STEP 5: Dissemination. The independent entity must complete a demographic profile of the facility’s CON targeted primary service area, looking at current population statistics. Underserved population segments need to be highlighted. Additionally, the independent entity must obtain feedback from a variety of sources regarding the proposed CON application. Means of engagement may include key stakeholder in-depth interviews, review of Community Health Assessments and Community Service Needs Assessments, public forums, focus groups, written statements, and community survey responses. Ultimately the activities tied to the meaningful engagement assessment need to match the scope of the project. At the conclusion of the assessment, the independent entity must provide a narrative overview of its findings. Ultimately the HEIA report becomes part of the CON application and is considered public information, and both documents are required to be publicly posted on the Applicant’s website. Additionally, the Department of Health will also publicly post the CON application and the HEIA through the New York State Electronic Certificate of Need (NYSE-CON) website.
Research & Marketing Strategies, Inc. (RMS) is an experienced, full-service market research firm that can serve as a qualified “independent entity” for NYS CON applications. The firm has a dedicated healthcare division that has a proven track record of guiding hospitals, healthcare systems, nursing homes, diagnostic and treatment centers – including ambulatory surgery centers with strategic planning, community health assessments, and new product/service feasibility studies. We can support your HEIA needs. Please reach out to info@RMSresults.com.
About the Author – Mark Dengler
Helping clients make decisions based upon data and information is what drives Mark and defines the RMS company mission. He has more than 35 years experience in general and product-specific marketing, strategic planning and development, teaching/training, market research techniques and general business operations. Mark has worked extensively with various C-suite business teams to address issues resulting in overall financial performance improvement and marketplace awareness. Finding excellence through collaboration on data analytics is a key perspective that Mark brings to client projects.
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Research & Marketing Strategies, Inc. (RMS) is a full-service market research firm in Central New York. Formed in 2002, RMS helps organizations that are looking to know more about their customers and/or potential customers. They conduct surveys, focus groups, mystery shopping, studies and analysis. Each project is customized and gets personal attention by the best in the business. RMS has a reputation for getting results and offers an independent means to conduct telephone, on-line and mail surveying, In-depth interviews, intercept interviews, and participant recruitment as well as focus group hosting through QualiSight, its onsite call center and focus group facility. Taking advantage of the region’s reputation for being a great market study barometer, RMS recruits and moderates for focus groups, community forums and town meetings.