Sure, awards and recognition are nice, but for the State of Nevada, Public Employees’ Benefits Program (PEBP) attaining URAC’s Core Accreditation is more about boosting credibility and better serving customers, says Damon Haycock, executive officer.
While public sector health programs are required to follow laws and regulations, there often is no single national source for measurement, Haycock says. “We are audited, and often significantly, however these audits ensure we are meeting requirements that do not necessarily include quality or customer service.”
Working with URAC, Nevada is now leading the way as the first and only public sector accredited program, Haycock says. The result? “We have increased our credibility as the programs and services provided are measured against higher national standards,” Haycock explains. He elaborates, “our dedication to customer service and consistent application of rules is further bolstered by the URAC accreditation.”
The benefits have been immediate. “Nevada has already reported to committees at our legislature about the efficacy of this accreditation,” he says. In addition, the PEBP board of directors are “supportive and excited,” according to Haycock. “We have set ourselves apart from our peers and developed a new standard of measurement.”
Haycock and PEBP hope to inspire others by example. “We are honored to have received the URAC accreditation and we would recommend it to our peers as a way to build credibility and to ensure quality is always one of the highest priorities.”
Others outside the board room have noticed, too. “We have been asked to speak publicly at national events and accreditation is highlighted and positively received,” says Haycock. PEBP was also recently awarded two 2018 Stevie Awards for Non-Profit/ Government Organization of the Year (Gold) and Most Innovative Company of the Year (Silver) where the accreditation was highlighted in their application.
Accreditation is also helping on the business side. “We are capitalizing on the accreditation with negotiations for new products and services demanding the highest quality and dedication to excellence from our partners,” says Haycock. “We have already received significant discounts based on our overall model and we feel accreditation is another factor we leverage for success.”
In a competitive landscape, accreditation is a valuable ally in the effort to attract businesses and skilled employees to a state, says Donna Merrick, product enhancement principal at URAC. “States are competing for the best of the best, and accreditation is one way to demonstrate a commitment to quality and the workforce,” she says. “Accreditation can serve as a benchmark to help an organization assess its performance against those in other fields.”
PEBP has benefited from the actual accreditation process, Haycock notes. “We learned a lot through this process and have successfully developed mechanisms internally to ensure we promote, implement and evaluate quality for our clients, our customers, and all stakeholders in Nevada,” he says.
The process itself went smoothly. “We felt the entire accreditation process was well planned, well communicated, and thorough,” says Haycock. While some of URAC accreditation requirements had conflicts with certain Nevada statutes, regulations, and policies, “the entire team at URAC was willing to work with us to find solutions that fit our limitations without jeopardizing the integrity of the national accreditation standards,” says Haycock.
An enthusiastic Haycock sums it up, “our mission is to provide employees, retirees and their families with high quality benefits at affordable prices. The URAC accreditation aligns with our dedication to quality and our mission overall.”
Currently, this program is available under URAC’s new Organizational Management Certification, which is derived from URAC’s Core v4.0 accreditation standards.