Recent health care reform efforts are focused on transforming care delivery while also controlling skyrocketing costs. URAC, an independent accreditation organization advancing quality and value throughout health care, recently announced the launch of two new accreditation programs for clinical integration and accountable care to address the changing health care landscape.
URAC’s Clinical Integration and Accountable Care Accreditation programs cultivate cooperation among providers to control costs, ensure quality, and improve health outcomes. These programs are part of URAC’s Provider Suite, building upon the Patient Centered Medical Home program. Together, these programs provide a flexible, educational approach to assist provider organizations as they move from physician practice groups to fully functioning medical homes, from loosely organized networks to clinically integrated networks, and from clinically integrated networks to providing population-based health through accountable care entities.
“URAC’s new accreditation programs are a roadmap for providers to successfully navigate the complex structural and cultural changes required under the Affordable Care Act to succeed in a new environment focused on quality and accountability,” says Kylanne Green, president and CEO of URAC. “Accreditation provides a competitive advantage for health care organizations by distinguishing themselves in the market while meeting industry needs at a crucial time of change.”
Clinical Integration Accreditation offers education and guidance for health care providers to achieve interdependent operations, care coordination, clinical management, and improved performance measures. The program focuses on the development of the organizational structure needed for clinical integration and applying evidence-based guidelines and best practices.
Accountable Care Accreditation supports an advanced level of operations with a focus on total population health and improving health outcomes through care coordination of population groups. The program helps providers address patient centeredness and engagement, HIT, quality management, population-based risk management, and case management.
Twelve organizations participated as beta sites for the Clinical Integration and Accountable Care standards development. One of the early adopters was St. Vincent’s Health Partners in Bridgeport, Connecticut. “We’ve been fortunate to beta test URAC’s new accreditation,” says Thomas Raskauskas, MD, CEO and president of St. Vincent’s Health Partners. “Although we’ve just begun, we’re seeing measurable improvements in providing quality care for patients, enhancing patient engagement, and eliminating redundant costs.”
To earn the accreditation, providers are independently evaluated, ensuring the achievement of accountability and quality under industry-vetted standards. URAC’s clinical integration standards also align with Federal Trade Commission antitrust regulations. The accreditation works for a variety of health providers, from small to large, including specialty groups.