A commitment to patient safety and pride in its physician network inspired Catalyst Health Network(Catalyst) to devote time and resources to achieving URAC Clinical Integration Accreditation in December. It wasn’t always an easy journey, but there was never any doubt it was worth it, said Christopher Crow, MD, president, Catalyst.
Throughout the process “I wanted to make sure everyone understood why this was so important to us, to our patients, and to the community we serve,” he said. “Accreditation is more than a stamp of approval. Going through the process demonstrates our commitment to quality healthcare and accountability.”
Catalyst is a clinically integrated network of primary care physicians who have come together to provide high-quality care, helping communities thrive. With 515 primary care providers, 140 office locations, 750,000 patients, and 70 care team members, Catalyst operates as a non-profit organization improving health, coordinating care, and lowering cost – creating sustainable and predictable value. The network is comprised solely of physician members and managed by StratiFi Health, a physician services and population health organization.
There are many benefits to accreditation, said Beth Martinez, RN, BSN, CCM, vice president medical management at Catalyst. “There are a lot of people who claim they’re clinically integrated networks, but this allows us to prove to our different payers that we actually are,” she said. Payers “can have confidence in our ability to do what needs to be done in our value-based contracts. “
Martinez stressed that achieving accreditation “really helps you as a network to feel you are doing the right thing for patients. I think patients see and feel that we’re following the right procedures and policies and evidence-based medicine, and that we’re committed to quality and patient safety.”
There’s also a sense of pride for the Catalyst team. “I think of it as an achievement,” said Jeff Lawrence, executive director, Catalyst. “We’re representing our physicians in the correct way. We are fulfilling our responsibility as a network that’s committed to giving back to our doctors the same level of effort that they give to us.”
Admittedly, achieving accreditation is not easy, and requires the right mix of personnel to be active in the process. “I think you need someone who acts as the project manager because it’s working with many people across the network,” said Martinez.
In many ways, pursuing accreditation is a win-win situation. The process of attaining accreditation “made us a better organization, Martinez said. “I would say that was probably the biggest thing for us. It helped us validate the things were we already doing correctly and gave us an opportunity to enhance the program.”
Lawrence agreed. “I think anytime you take yourself through an assessment; you have to first evaluate who you are, and what you’re doing. That was a great opportunity for us to do a self-assessment within the guidelines of how we were thinking about things. When you have somebody come in and check you out, then you tighten up a bit…not in a negative sense, but you tighten your operations. It causes you to articulate your business in a more definitive way.”
Accreditation is also an important competitive tool, Crow said. “It solidifies the fact that we are clinically integrated,” Crow said. “It jump-starts the conversation” with potential new customers.
For Crow, the final verdict is clear. “This was a good, arduous thing for us to do. We like things that are hard and nearly impossible because they challenge us to make the world a better place. That’s what we get up and do every day.”