The Bloomberg American Health Initiative and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Equity are working with IBM Watson Health to develop a method to measure the impact of hospitals on community health and equity, for potential inclusion in the Fortune/IBM Watson Health 100 Top Hospitals Program.

A draft proposal is available here, and public comment can be provided here until September 25, 2020 (deadline extended from September 10).

Why now? The United States has experienced a decline in life expectancy from 2015 to 2017, the first three-year drop since the time of World War I and the Great Influenza, with persistent and severe health disparities along socioeconomic and racial lines. To reverse these trends, the U.S. healthcare system can do more to prevent illness, promote equity, and enhance well-being.

What’s the idea? The idea is to add a measure of how hospitals contribute to community health and equity alongside measures of healthcare quality and patient satisfaction in the Fortune/IBM Watson national hospital ranking. Adding this measure and counting it equally in overall rankings can recognize and reward a growing number of hospitals committed to investing in and improving health and equity in their own communities.

What’s the proposal? The draft proposal includes four components of a measure of community health and equity:

  • Component 1: Population-level outcomes. This component assesses improvement in county-level metrics of community health and equity.
  • Component 2: Hospital as healthcare provider. This component assesses whether hospitals meet best practice standards for offering preventive services. Examples include offering tobacco cessation services, violence intervention, and addiction treatment on site.
  • Component 3: Hospital as community partner. This component assesses whether hospitals meet best practice standards for contributing to community health initiatives. Examples include supporting community health workers, home visiting, and healthy housing programs.
  • Component 4: Hospital as anchor institution. This component assesses whether hospitals meet best practice standards for employers. Examples include plans to diversify boards and management, paying a living wage, and offering childcare to all employees.

What happens next? Please provide comments by September 25. The comments will inform next steps in developing a community health and equity measure for hospitals.

Read more about the collaboration in Fortune.