Skip to main content

HealthPartners receives CMS Health Equity award

Honor recognizes progress in reducing disparities

February 5, 2019

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — HealthPartners is one of only two organizations in the nation to receive the Health Equity Award from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The award recognizes areas where HealthPartners has implemented new models to increase access to care and reduce health disparities.

“It's a great honor to be recognized for our deep commitment to health equity, and the progress we've made to improve health and access to care for everyone,” said Andrea Walsh, president and CEO, HealthPartners.

Examples of HealthPartners work to promote health equity include:

Clinics: more patients get lifesaving test for colon cancer

Screening for colon cancer is important because it can find and remove abnormal growths before they turn in to cancer. To help more patients of color get this life-saving test, HealthPartners began offering a fecal immunochemical test (FIT) kits. The FIT test is more comfortable and convenient than a colonoscopy. As a result of this effort, there was a significant increase in the number of people of color getting tested. That reduced the screening rate gap between white patients and patients of color.

Health plan: more patients get needed medication for depression

Patients need to stay on anti-depressant medication for at least six months to get the most benefit from it. But among members enrolled in Medicaid, there were more members of color who were not getting this care compared to white members. HealthPartners launched a program that helped more patients of color complete medication treatment.

Regions Hospital: better care for mental illness

At Regions Hospital, patients with limited English proficiency (LEP) needed to stay in the hospital longer than patients whose preferred language is English. One reason is because patients who spoke languages other than English could not participate in group therapy which can help people recover more quickly. To correct this, Regions trained staff interpreters to provide simultaneous interpreting. This method is used for interpreting for world leaders and it enabled patients to participate in group therapy. This technology is helping patients with LEP recover more quickly so that they can return home about four days sooner.

CMS announced the Health Equity award Jan. 31 at the CMS Quality Conference in Baltimore. Missouri-based Centene Corporation also received the award.

In other news, HealthPartners Director of Diversity and Inclusion Shamayne Braman was recently named a 2019 40 Under 40 honoree by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.

Go to for more information about our work to promote health equity.

About HealthPartners

HealthPartners is the largest consumer-governed, non-profit health care organization in the nation with a mission to improve health and well-being in partnership with members, patients and the community. For more information, visit

Back to top