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URAC Invites Public Input in Response to Revisions to Health Plan and Health Network Accreditation Programs
Date:4/1/2008

New standards support principles of Consumer-Purchaser Disclosure Project, include review of physician quality measurement programs

WASHINGTON, April 1, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today URAC called for public comment on revisions to its Health Plan and Health Network accreditation program standards. URAC is seeking input from all interested parties, including purchasers, policy makers, consumers, health care management organizations and health plans. The deadline for public comment is May 19, 2008.

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

Among the revisions are specific standards applicable to those organizations that implement and publicly report on their physician quality measurement programs. The new standards are consistent with the general principles proposed by the Consumer-Purchaser Disclosure Project in its Patient Charter for Physician Performance, Measurement and Tiering Programs.

"These revisions align with URAC's strategic focus on enhancing consumer empowerment and protection through accreditation," said Alan P. Spielman, URAC's president and CEO. "The standards are a blueprint for organizations to develop systems that give consumers the information they need to make choices based on provider quality."

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.

"The Health Network and Health Plan Standards have completed the first round of updates by the Standards Committee. Many enhancements and clarifications have been proposed. This includes the introduction of new standards to address Health Care Performance reporting," said Douglas Metz, chairman of the Health Standards Committee and chief health services officer for American Specialty Health.

Performance reporting on quality is an important component of consumer welfare, he said. "The URAC standards provide a framework for organizations to utilize if they are implementing health care performance reporting processes. These standards have considered the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Four Cornerstones initiatives, the Consumer-Purchaser Disclosure Patient Charter Project and the New York attorney general's Agreement Concerning Physician Performance Measurement initiative."

"Public comment is critical to the continuous quality improvement process used by the URAC Health Standards Committee in its review and updating of the accreditations standards," Metz said. "The Committee carefully reviews every comment and takes them into consideration in the editing process."

The Health Plan and Health Network draft standards are available for review at http://www.urac.org/publiccomment/. URAC will only accept comments through this online comment form.

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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