Patients and Families
At University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), we know that there are very real and challenging barriers that patients and their families may face when trying to access the care they need to stay healthy and well.
Many times, these barriers are rooted in larger, systemic issues, and they can lead to health disparities for whole communities or groups of people.
We're working hard to eliminate these obstacles for every individual who walks through our doors and, in turn, for their communities.
We know that when we provide the services, tools and resources that allow patients access to equitable care, our communities are stronger, healthier and more vibrant. At the same time, we must continually examine our practices and procedures to ensure that we are creating an environment where our patients can have the best health outcomes possible.
What We Are Doing Now
- Diversity in Our Workforce - We know that our workforce should reflect the cultures, backgrounds and experiences of our communities and that diversity needs to be carried through all levels of the organization. We have incentivized increasing people of color in leadership positions through hiring, promotion and retention.
- Culturally Competent Care - We continue to educate and train our team members to recognize bias in health care and to provide culturally competent care. This means adapting to meet our patients' social, cultural and linguistic needs. It also means working to eliminate the disparities in health care that are unique to LGBTQ+ people.
- Language Interpretation - Communication is fundamental to providing and receiving quality health care. Every one of our hospitals offers an array of language interpretation services to ensure patients and providers can communicate effectively.
- Pastoral Care - The pastoral care teams at our hospitals strive to support and meet the spiritual needs of all our patients, families and staff. This includes people of all faiths and those who are not religious.
- Accessibility - We ensure that not only are our facilities are accessible, but also that our messaging meet the needs of those whose disabilities may affect their ability to communicate.
- Transportation - Access to health care often depends on access to transportation. This is true for rural, urban and suburban communities. To address this, UMMS has partnered with Lyft in areas that have rideshare services. And in rural or other areas, we are addressing transportation issues via mobile vaccine and wellness clinics and through health initiatives like our efforts in Kent County.
Working Toward Better State of Care
But these efforts alone are not enough. We must also look at the bigger picture and uncover where there are gaps and failures. Here's how we will do that:
- We will examine patient outcomes from across our system and identify areas of disparity.
- Once areas for improvement are identified, we will develop robust plans to address those disparities and improve outcomes for affected individuals.
- New policies and procedures will offer clear guidelines and expectations when it comes to equity, diversity and inclusion.
- We will examine which communities may be experiencing poorer health outcomes and work to develop services and solutions to address those neighborhoods' specific needs.
Most importantly, we pledge to continue to listen and learn from you, our patients and our neighbors. To share your ideas or suggestions, contact EDI@umm.edu.