SUCCESSFUL PILOT TESTS CLEAR THE WAY FOR
JULY DEBUT OF ACO STANDARDS
.― The National Committee for Quality Assurance’s (NCQA’s) accreditation program for Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) came a step closer to becoming a reality this week as ten health care organizations finished testing an important aspect of the new program.
The month-long pilot test analyzed whether organizations could reasonably collect and submit information for the program. The pilot testing is a final step in the year-long collaboration between NCQA and diverse stakeholders to create ACO standards designed to improve the probability that these new entities are successful in achieving improvements in quality and value more generally.
NCQA will use feedback from the pilot test to revise the standards before it issues final ACO Accreditation standards in July.
Test participants responded in February to NCQA’s call for volunteers, and then completed the trial collection and submission of data between March 14 and April 11. In keeping with NCQA’s collaborative, consensus-based approach to developing standards, the participating organizations are a diverse group of health care organizations:
Integrated Delivery Systems:
Billings Clinic of Billings, MT
Gundersen Lutheran of La Crosse, WI
Health Partners of Minneapolis, MN
Prevea in partnership with Health Hospital Sisters Health System of Green Bay, WI
Independent Practice Associations:
Montefiore Medical Center IPA of Bronx and Westchester, NY
Mount Auburn Cambridge IPA of Boston, MA
Northwest Physicians Network of Tacoma, WA
San Juan IPA of Farmington, NM
Multispecialty Group Practices:
HealthCare Partners of Torrance, CA
Kelsey-Seybold Clinic of Houston, TX
“I thank this outstanding group for helping NCQA test our ACO standards in the real world of the health care delivery system,” explains Margaret E. O’Kane, President of the National Committee for Quality Assurance. “With the help of these pioneers, NCQA will implement an efficient and effective review process.”
NCQA began working with industry stakeholders to create ACO Accreditation criteria in April 2010. The October-November 2010 public comment period for ACO criteria drew more than 2,200 suggestions from more than 220 organizations – intense interest that speaks to the importance health care professionals place on ACOs.
As defined in the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act, Accountable Care Organizations are provider-based organizations that take responsibility for meeting the health care needs of a defined population with the goal of simultaneously improving health, improving patient experience and reducing per capita costs. By coordinating and integrating care, policymakers hope ACOs can simplify the care process for patients, enhance quality, improve efficiency and reduce costs.
For updates about ACO Accreditation, visit www.ncqa.org.
NCQA is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to improving health care quality. NCQA accredits and certifies a wide range of health care organizations. It also recognizes clinicians and practices in key areas of performance. NCQA is committed to providing health care quality information for consumers, purchasers, health care providers and researchers.
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