UPDATED January 27, 2022
URAC returns to virtual validation reviews for early 2022.
The Omicron Variant of COVID-19 is presenting new challenges to the entire country, especially for health care and travel.
With that in mind, and out of an abundance of caution, URAC is once again moving to virtual validation reviews until February 28, 2022. The reasoning for URAC’s decision is two-fold: to support the health and wellbeing of its Reviewers and because for many URAC clients, staffing has become an issue due to the high rates of transmission. We hope that moving to this virtual review model will alleviate some of stress on our valued clients as well.
We will provide updates toward the middle of February using the information we have at that time.
September 8, 2021
URAC, the nation’s largest independent health care accreditation organization and the recognized leader in pharmacy and digital health accreditation, announced today that it will implement a COVID-19 vaccine mandate policy for all employees, beginning October 15, 2021. Read more here>>
On-site validation reviews resume August 2, 2021.
All of us at URAC want to extend a sincere THANK YOU to our clients and all health care organizations for your heroic efforts in addressing an unprecedented health care challenge. We knew early on that the best thing we could do for you and for our Reviewers was to get out of your way and let you do what needed to be done – care for patients when they needed you the most.
Now, with vaccine rates going up all over the country and COVID case rates decreasing, URAC Reviewers will begin conducting on-site validation reviews starting August 2, 2021. We will work with organizations to schedule appropriate validation reviews.
In addition, the changes URAC implemented to program standards will end on July 30th. Please note, URAC will continue to work with all organizations who may need accommodations or relaxations. Continue to document these occurrences on the URAC COVID-19 Temporary Noncompliance Documentation Template located in AccreditNet.
If you have any questions about our return to normal business operations, please contact your Client Relations Manager or Lead Reviewer.
Patient Care Comes First
We want to keep you informed as COVID-19 continues to spread nationwide. URAC will make adjustments to our processes as guidance and recommendations are posted by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Please review this web page for COVID-19 updates.
URAC Accreditation and Certification Programs (Through July 30, 2021)
We’d like to take this opportunity to express our support for health organizations as they deal with the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. We value the work you do and the sacrifices you all make in your daily lives. It’s at extraordinary times like this that we wish to express our heartfelt appreciation for all providers battling this pandemic to ensure patients get the care they need.
Through July 30, 2021, URAC will:
- Suspend all accreditation and certification onsite activities.
- Transition scheduled validation reviews to virtual where possible.
- Reschedule validation review that cannot be completed virtually.
- Suspend all monitoring activities.
- Evaluate requests for extension for application submission without penalty.
- Evaluate the need to extend accreditation and certification expiration dates without penalty
For programs requiring an onsite observation during the Validation Review
- Reschedule the onsite observation component of the accreditation validation review for all new Applicants who have completed their virtual validation review. Note: This will not prevent an organization’s application from being presented to the Accreditation Committee.
- Waive the onsite observation component of the accreditation validation review for reaccreditation Applicants who have completed their virtual validation review.
Health Care Organizations and Practices Whose Operations Are Affected
During the uncertain time of the COVID-19 pandemic, URAC understands that to prioritize patient care, Applicants and Accredited Organizations may experience instances of non-compliance with URAC program standards when implementing their business continuity/disaster response plans. URAC has developed a template to be used by Applicants and Accredited Organizations who have or will experience instances of non-compliance with URAC program standards. The template offers the information required to document any temporary instances of non-compliance with a program standard and the resolution. This resource is available in URAC’s AccreditNET platform under General Resources. This template may be submitted to URAC to document actions taken during the pandemic.
URAC will work with all organizations to ensure any state or federal accommodations/relaxations of health care regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic are honored. We ask that organizations include any state or federal accommodations/relaxations on the URAC COVID-19 Temporary Noncompliance Documentation Template.
For all URAC programs that have the requirements listed below, here are some additional changes regarding specific program standards.
- Allow organization to accept or transfer credentialing an application that is signed and dated up to 210 days (changed from 180 days).
- Allow primary or secondary source verification information collected eight (8) months prior to submission or transfer to be accepted (changed from six (6) months).
- Allow organizations that delegate credentialing to reschedule provider site visits at a later date.
- Increase the period for organizations to complete participating provider recredentialing from 36 months by an additional 90 days.
Business Continuity Plan
For programs that contain earlier versions of Core (i.e., Core v3.0, Pharmacy Core v3.1, and Core v3.2), organizations may use an actual implementation of their BCP (Business Continuity Plan) in response to COVID‑19 as meeting the requirement for testing their BCP.
This affects the following standards:
- CORE 14: Business Continuity, element c (Core v3.0 and Core v3.2)
- PHARM Core 14: Business Continuity/Emergency Management, element d (Pharmacy Core v3.1)
- Waive the review of organizational UM files if performance was impacted by COVID-19
- Relax requirements for employment background screening and drug testing/screening from “prior to hire” to completed within 60 days of the date of hire.
- Note: Primary Source Verification prior to hire remains a requirement.
Telephone Performance Metrics
- Waive the review of organizational telephone performance metrics if performance was impacted by COVID-19
We will continue to address any additional changes to program standards in response to COVID-19 and client needs and update here.
Telehealth and COVID-19 – What you need to know
At URAC, we want to act as a convener of information and best practices and in this unprecedented time we are committed to offering you a URAC-curated list of the most up-to-date details on how telemedicine is being used.
Here is a series of CMS updates and additional information regarding the use of telemedicine in the COVID-19 outbreak. We will continue to update this information as it becomes available.
- HHS State Medicaid and CHIP Telehealth Toolkit
- Supplement: Policy Considerations for States Expanding Use of Telehealth
- New payment information for RHCs and FQHCs for Medicare telehealth services
- Michigan Governor Expands Medicaid Coverage for Telehealth
- CMS changes make telehealth more widely available in Medicare Advantage
- CMS Telehealth COVID-19 Emergency Declaration Blanket Waivers for Health Care Providers
- Medicare Virtual Visit COVID-19 CMS Video Explainer
- MS further expands use of telehealth for Medicare
- COVID Virtual State and Local Toolkit
- HHS Telehealth Resources for Providers and Patients
- DEA Gives Providers Leeway to Use Telehealth for Substance Abuse Care
- A Patient’s Guide to Telemedicine: What to Do When Your Doctor Calls or Video-Chats with You
CMS issued an interim final rule with comment period that provides clarity about the use of RPM in addressing the COVID-19 crisis
- Press Release
- Interim Final Rule
- Medicare telehealth list: List of services payable under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule when furnished via telehealth
COVID-19 Accelerated/Advance payment for Medicare Providers
- Fact Sheet
- Press Release – Includes information regarding Remote Patient Monitoring
- CMS will now allow for more than 80 additional services to be furnished via telehealth
- CMS Long-Term Care Nursing Homes Telehealth and Telemedicine Tool Kit
- CMS ESRD Provider Telehealth and Telemedicine Toolkit
- CMS General Provider Telehealth and Telemedicine Toolkit
- Medicare Learning Network March 2020 telehealth booklet
- AMA quick guide to telemedicine in practice
- FDA Guidance regarding remote patient monitoring during COVID-19
- CMS Provider Fact Sheet
- CMS COVID-19 Information page
- CMS Guidance for Medicare Advantage, which includes telehealth information
- CMS March 17th announcement
- Center for Connected Health Policy daily update on COVID and telehealth
- AMA Telehealth Implementation Guide
- National Consortium of Telehealth Resource Center COVID-19 Telehealth Toolkit
- The Advisory Board: Are you ready to leverage telehealth against COVID-19?
Advisory Board, a membership-based consulting firm that provides best practices and strategic insight to nearly 5,000 health care organizations, is making its COVID-19 research and webinars publicly available to help you navigate the crisis.
Find out more about URAC’s Digital/Telehealth Programs here
Pharmacies and COVID-19 – What you need to know
Our accredited pharmacy partners are the backbone of our health care system and we have created this clearinghouse of pharmacy-related updates from numerous experts and thought leaders to offer a single place for up-to-the-minute information on pharmacy activities related to COVID-19
- CMS: Pharmacy & Lab Testing for COVID-19
- FDA expands COVID-19 drug compounding policy to smaller pharmacies
- FDA Enforcement Policy for Infusion Pumps and Accessories during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
- CDC Considerations for Pharmacies during the COVID-19 Pandemic
- HHS authorizes pharmacies to order and administer COVID-19 tests
- Regulatory Focus – Compounding Drugs During the Pandemic: FDA Offers Policy Clarifications
The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy has created a state-by-state update of Coronavirus-related pharmacy information.
The FDA released new guidance for risk evaluation and mitigations strategy (REMS)-required testing during this time:
COMPOUNDING HAND SANITIZERS
- FDA issued a temporary policy for compounding hand sanitizers.
- The USP Compounding Expert Committee released a resource on Compounding Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer During COVID-19 Pandemic.
Find out more about URAC’s Pharmacy Programs here
Please bookmark this page as it will be updated often.