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URAC Calls for Public Comment on Revisions to its Draft Provider Performance Measurement and Reporting Standards

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

New accreditation program will allow companies to demonstrate compliance with the Consumer-Purchaser Disclosure Project’s Patient Charter for Physician Performance

Washington, D.C. Aug. 26, 2008 — Today URAC called for public comment on revisions to its draft Provider Performance Measurement and Reporting Standards. This is the second round of public comment and features significant revisions by URAC’s Health Standards Committee. The standards support the general principles put forward by the Consumer-Purchaser Disclosure Project in its Patient Charter for Physician Performance, Measurement and Tiering Programs, and provide an avenue for organizations to publicly demonstrate compliance with the physician measurement and reporting aspects of the Patient Charter.

URAC, one of the nation’s leading independent accrediting organizations, is seeking input from any interested parties, including purchasers, policy makers, consumers, health care management organizations and health plans. The deadline for public comment is Oct. 10, 2008.

The standards will be used as the framework for a standalone accreditation program for organizations that measure and report physician performance. They will also be used in conjunction with URAC Health Plan and Health Network accreditation for those companies that measure and publicly report physician performance.

Today’s release includes a Companion Workbook that URAC intends to use as part of the accreditation process. The workbook is designed to take an organization through the steps necessary to construct a program that is grounded in sound scientific methods, supports the use of national standards and reinforces the need for transparency and collaboration between an organization, its providers and consumers.  The workbook will be part of the document set an organization will complete when applying for accreditation, and will be used by URAC reviewers throughout the accreditation process. After accreditation is achieved, organizations will be encouraged to update the workbook as part of their annual quality planning.

“The Provider Performance Measurement and Reporting Standards support transparency in health care and help purchasers and consumers get access to information they need to make important health care choices,” said Douglas Metz, DC, chairman of URAC’s Health Standards Committee and chief health services officer for American Specialty Health. “This is an important step in URAC’s ongoing effort to support consumer empowerment and protection.”

URAC’s Provider Performance Measurement and Reporting Standards align with the principles promoted by both the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ “Four Cornerstones” for health care improvement and the Patient Charter. Organizations that meet the standards for accreditation will also meet the criteria for the voluntary “Agreement Concerning Physician Performance Measurement, Reporting and Tiering Programs” established by the Attorney General of the State of New York, Andrew M. Cuomo.

“We are pleased that URAC is seeking additional comments as it works to makes its standards consistent with the principles of the Patient Charter for Physician Performance Measurement, Reporting and Tiering Programs,” said Peter V. Lee, executive director of national health policy for the Pacific Business Group on Health and co-chair of the Consumer-Purchaser Disclosure Project. “Having independent review of programs that publicly report on physician performance is critical.  And, being sure that those reviews are based on widely agreed-upon principles that promote accuracy, consistency, fairness and consumer-friendly information means that both patients and doctors can rely on those results.”

The standards and Companion Workbook are available for review at https://www.urac.org/publiccomment/. URAC will only accept comments through this online comment form. During the public comment period, URAC will also beta test the standards with select organizations. After public comment and beta testing, additional revisions will be made. Final draft standards are expected to be reviewed by URAC’s Board of Directors in December 2008.

The Patient Charter calls for health plans to initiate independent assessment of physician quality and to inform consumers of performance results. Specifically, the Patient Charter calls for accrediting organizations such as URAC to “review the plan’s programs for consumers that measure, report and tier physicians based on their performance.” Measures used by health plans should be meaningful to consumers and should include quality measures across a number of clinical activities. After standards are finalized, URAC intends to become an independent reviewer of organizations who wish to demonstrate they comply with elements of the Patient Charter.

For more information about the Consumer-Purchaser Disclosure Project, go to http://healthcaredisclosure.org.

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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 programs 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.

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