WASHINGTON, Dec. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today URAC called for comments on major revisions to its accreditation standards for Health Web Site, HIPAA Privacy (Business Associate and Covered Entity) and HIPAA Security (Business Associate and Covered Entity) accreditation programs. URAC is seeking input from any interested parties, including purchasers, consumers, health care management organizations and health plans. The deadline for public comment is Feb. 10, 2008.
URAC's Health Standards Committee reviewed and revised the standards now open for public comment. The proposed revisions for these programs include new weights assigned to each standard element. Changes to Health Web Site Version 2.1 accreditation standards include clarification about health content reviewer qualifications and specific documentation required for quality management. Changes to the HIPAA Privacy and Security Version 1.1 accreditation standards include a requirement for periodic assessment updates and staff training, retention of copies of all business associate agreements, and a new requirement for business associate staff members regarding privacy rules and sanctions.
"The current standards revision cycle is focused on two primary and important aspects of the health care system," said Douglas Metz, DC, chairman of URAC's Health Standards Committee and chief health services officer for American Specialty Health. "First, the advancement of standards that support consumer health and welfare, and second, updating standards and the interpretive guide to acknowledge significant changes within the health care system. These standards updates are being made with stakeholder input; public comment recommendations are critical to the standards development process. Every comment is reviewed by the committee in the updating process."
The standards are available for review at http://www.urac.org. URAC strongly prefers to receive comments through the online comment form available at http://www.urac.org. Alternately, comments may be submitted by email (email@example.com); by mail (URAC, Attn: Public Comments, 1220 L Street, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20005); online at http://webapps.urac.org/urac_public_comment/default.html or may be faxed to (202) 216-9006. Please note that submissions received through a method other than the online comment form should include the following information: 1) the product name; 2) the standard abbreviation and number; 3) comment classification (standard or weight); and 4) comment.
All comments submitted by the deadline will be reviewed and considered prior to final changes to the standards. Revisions will be submitted to URAC's Board of Directors for final approval at the end of July, 2008, and revisions will be implemented Jan. 1, 2009.
URAC, an independent, nonprofit organization, is well-known as a leader in promoting health care quality through its accreditation and certification 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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