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URAC Announces Support for Principles of Disclosure Project's Patient Charter
Date:4/1/2008

Accreditation organization revising standards to include review of physician quality measurement programs to enhance transparency

WASHINGTON, April 1, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- URAC, one of the nation's leading independent accrediting organizations, announced today its support for the general principles put forward by the Consumer-Purchaser Disclosure Project in its Patient Charter for Physician Performance, Measurement and Tiering Programs. The Patient Charter is supported by leading consumer, labor and employer groups and aligns with URAC's work over the past four years to enhance consumer education, safety and empowerment through its accreditation programs.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20030501/URACLOGO )

The support comes the same day URAC invites public comments for revisions to its Health Plan and Health Network accreditation programs. Among the revisions are specific standards applicable to those organizations that implement and publicly report on their physician quality measurement programs. URAC is interested in public feedback to its proposed standards that will support the principles described in the Patient Charter.

The Patient Charter calls for health plans to initiate independent assessment of physician quality and to inform consumers of performance results. Specifically, the Patient Charter calls for accrediting organizations such as URAC to "review the plan's programs for consumers that measure, report and tier physicians based on their performance." Measures used by health plans should be meaningful to consumers and should include quality measures across a number of clinical activities.

Beginning with URAC's groundbreaking Consumer Education and Support Accreditation standards introduced in 2005 and continuing through the latest revisions to its Accreditation Standards, URAC has increasingly raised the bar for health care management organizations to proactively address the expanding consumer need for information to make wise health care choices.

"These revisions reflect URAC's ongoing leadership to support consumers and purchasers and enhance transparency so they can wisely assess health care value and make key health care decisions," said Alan P. Spielman, URAC's president and CEO. "URAC has been building this foundation with health care organizations over the past several years with our emphasis on the Institute of Medicine's six aims for safe, timely, effective, efficient, equitable, and patient-centered care."

Spielman said URAC will evaluate its techniques and enhance accreditation standards based on the nature of the public comments received and in consideration of the principles outlined by the Disclosure Project Patient Charter. Further support for the principles will also be considered as part of URAC's interpretive guidance during the accreditation process.

"We have seen quality standards develop over the years as a multi-stage process," Spielman said. "The principles brought forward by the Consumer-Purchaser Disclosure Project bring needed attention in support of this process."

"Health care measurement and public reporting are powerful mechanisms to drive improvements in quality and efficiency," said Peter Lee, co-chair of the Consumer-Purchaser Disclosure Project and executive director for national health policy of the Pacific Business Group on Health. "Independent review of health plans against the Patient Charter's principles is essential to assure credibility of physician performance measurement programs nationally."

For more information about the Consumer-Purchaser Disclosure Project, go to http://healthcaredisclosure.org.

About URAC

URAC, an independent, nonprofit organization, is well-known as a leader in promoting health care quality through its accreditation and education programs. URAC offers a wide range of quality benchmarking programs and services that keep pace with the rapid changes in the health care system, and provide a symbol of excellence for organizations to validate their commitment to quality and accountability. Through its broad-based governance structure and an inclusive standards development process, URAC ensures that all stakeholders are represented in establishing meaningful quality measures for the entire health care industry. For more information, visit http://www.urac.org.


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