UChicago Medicine among top 10 most racially inclusive hospitals in the U.S.

Lown Institute Hospitals Index Racial Inclusivity During Covid Winning Hospitals 2022

The University of Chicago Medicine is one of the most racially inclusive hospitals in the United States, according to a new report from the Lown Institute, a non-partisan think tank that advocates for a just healthcare system.

Of the more than 2,800 hospitals assessed using the Lown Institute Hospitals Index for Social Responsibility, 50 made the organization’s Top 50 list in racial inclusivity, with UChicago Medicine placing No. 6 in the country. The Hospitals Index for Social Responsibility's racial inclusivity metric measures how well U.S. hospitals serve people of color in their surrounding communities.

Chicago had the most hospitals represented of any city in the Top 50 list, with John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County (5), Mercy Hospital and Medical Center (29) and Mount Sinai Hospital (39) rounding out the list.

The study used Medicare claims data from 2020, the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Each hospital’s racial inclusivity score reflects how well the demographics of the hospital’s “community area” (people who the hospital could serve) compare to those of the patient population (who the hospital does serve). The community area is determined using the ZIP codes of a hospital’s Medicare patients and includes a travel time adjustment.

“All Chicago residents — whatever their race or where they live — have the right to receive safe and high-quality healthcare without the burden of leaving their neighborhood to get the care they need,” said Brenda Battle, RN, BSN, MBA, UChicago Medicine’s Senior Vice President for Community Health Transformation and Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer.

Currently, about 56% of patients on the South Side leave the area to get healthcare. Research has found that patients living farther from healthcare facilities have worse health outcomes, longer lengths of hospital stay, non-attendance at follow-up visits, higher rates of chronic disease-related deaths, lower five-year cancer survival rates, and increased overall disease burden.

“To overcome deep-seated inequities and the historic lack of resources in South Side communities, the University of Chicago Medicine has been very intentional about providing exceptional care for the communities that we serve, while also working to bolster the healthcare ecosystem and improve access to care on the South Side,” said Battle.

UChicago Medicine recently announced plans to build a $633 million, 500,000-square-foot facility dedicated to cancer care on its medical campus on the South Side. If approved, the new cancer center will add to an emerging ecosystem of care on the South Side, where community hospitals play a vital role in providing access to care to vulnerable and lower-income patients and where academic health systems like UChicago Medicine play a critical role in treating those who require specialized or complex care.

In addition, UChicago Medicine helped to launch and lead a collaborative of 13 South Side care providers in establishing the South Side Healthy Community Organization (SSHCO). The SSHCO plans to serve more than 400,000 residents with more seamless and more accessible healthcare; this includes adding 90 primary care providers and obstetric hires, access to nearly 50 priority specialists, 250 community healthcare workers/coordinators, and a connected care technology platform.

These results come on the heels of the Lown Institute’s annual assessment of social responsibility among U.S hospitals, assigning grades for equity, value and outcomes. In the most recently published Social Responsibility Rankings, UChicago Medicine received an A grade for overall performance, which includes how well hospitals invest in community health, among other factors.

Additional ranking information, including an explanation of methods, is available at LownHospitalsIndex.org/inclusivity. The full 2022 Lown Institute Hospitals Index for Social Responsibility, including rankings across more than 50 metrics, will be released in late June.