For 25 years, URAC has been the independent leader in promoting health care quality through accreditation, education, and measurement. URAC offers a wide range of quality benchmarking products that reflect the latest changes in health care and provide a symbol of excellence for organizations to showcase their validated commitment to quality and accountability. URAC’s evidence-based measures and standards are developed through inclusive engagement with a broad range of stakeholders committed to improving the quality of health care.
In the late 1980′s, concerns grew over the lack of uniform standards for utilization review (UR) services. UR is the process where organizations determine whether health care is medically necessary for a patient or an insured individual. As a result, URAC’s first mission was to improve the quality and accountability of health care organizations using UR programs. In later years, URAC’s mission expanded to cover a larger range of service functions found in various health care settings, including the accreditation of integrated systems such as accountable care organizations and health plans to smaller organizations offering specialty services. Formally incorporated in 1990, URAC has more than 30 accreditation and certification programs.
From conception, URAC’s founders recognized that an accreditation organization would not be accepted by regulators, health care providers, and consumers if controlled by industry interests. Therefore, several operating principles were incorporated into URAC’s structure and bylaws. First, URAC was set up as an organization independent of any particular stakeholder group. Second, the governing board of directors was established with representatives from all affected constituencies: consumers, providers, employers, regulators, and industry experts.
URAC is one of the fastest growing health care accreditation agencies in the world. It will continue to develop new standards for the health care system and revise existing ones to promote national standards and to ensure that all stakeholders, including consumers and providers, are protected.