URAC Invites Public Comments for Accountable Care Organization Revised Accreditation Standards

doctor with stethoscope in hand touching medical icon network connection

WASHINGTON DC – April 17, 2019 – Independent healthcare accreditor URAC opens the proposed revised Accountable Care Organization (ACO) Standards for public comment beginning on April 17, 2019, and ending May 15, 2019, at 8 p.m. Eastern Time.

These proposed revised standards have been modified to directly address today’s healthcare industry where organizations are taking a variety of risks for desirable outcomes and lower costs. “Such organizations are deserving of the reward and recognition that comes through accreditation programs that encourage best practices and consumer protections,” said Karen Watts, URAC Director of Care Management.

Feedback from industry representatives provide the expertise essential to building a successful set of benchmarks for recognition of excellence in performance and provision of quality of healthcare services such as this.

“This updated set of ACO standards will stand alone as an opportunity for distinction among provider-led care delivery models that focus on population health and care coordination for improving the health of a defined segment or an entire population,” said Shawn Griffin, URAC President and CEO.

Interested organizations may include:

  • Group practices, including multi-specialty practice groups and provider clinics
  • Independent Practice Associations (IPA)
  • Physician-Hospital Organizations (PHO) partnerships or joint ventures
  • Specialty provider networks accepting risk (e.g., behavioral health, cardiology etc.)
  • Primary care services providers, such as critical access hospitals, FQHCs, and rural health clinics
  • CMS Shared Savings Program participants

The eligible ACO is a legal entity identified by a single TIN. URAC standards addressing accountable care, first released in 2013, were created as an outgrowth of clinically integrated networks (CINs) and drafted as a sequel to the formation of CINs. The current standards are conceived of as meeting the industry where it stands today.

Program standards for Accountable Care Organizations are organized into four focus areas:

  1. Risk Management
  2. Structure and Operations
  3. Population Health
  4. Patient Centeredness in Clinical Management

Risk Management standards center on risk contracting. The focus on structure and operations includes requirements for credentialing, management/operations, and IT capability. The population health focus incorporates six competencies, including access ongoing care management, integration and collaboration and performance improvement expectations. Patient centeredness is covered in two performance elements for patient engagement. Click here to access a listing of the ACO standards and elements of performance and submit your comments:


For more information about the URAC Accountable Care standards, contact URAC Product Development Principal Deborah Smith at 202-962-8802 or send an email to: Program_Standards_and_Maintenance@urac.onmicrosoft.com.


About URAC

Founded in 1990, URAC is the independent leader in promoting healthcare quality through accreditation, certification and measurement. URAC is a nonprofit organization developing evidence-based measures and standards through inclusive engagement with a range of stakeholders who are committed to improving the quality of healthcare. Our portfolio of accreditation and certification programs spans the healthcare industry, addressing healthcare management, healthcare operations, health plans, pharmacies, telehealth providers, physician practices and more. URAC accreditation is a symbol of excellence for organizations to showcase their validated commitment to quality and accountability. For more information, visit www.urac.org.