FAQ Directory

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about NCQA’s various programs. If you don’t see what you are looking for in one of the entries below, you can  ask a question through My NCQA.

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11.17.2008 HEDIS measures If we use HEDIS measures, will NCQA still look at code?

No. NCQA does not evaluate an organizations code; it reviews the organizations measure specifications and compares them to the original source specification (if applicable).

11.17.2008 Differences between health plan (MCO/PPO) and PHQ standards We went through MCO accreditation in 2007. PHQ standards were required in our standards. How is this different? How is this the same?

NCQAs PHQ product was released in April 2006 as part of its Quality Plus Program, a voluntary suite of areas where NCQA-Accredited plans could earn distinction. NCQA Health Plan (formerly MCO) Accreditation standards do not include PHQ requirements.

11.17.2008 Survey Pricing If we go through provisional certification and are then required to go through full certification within 12 months, does our organization get a reduced price?

No. Survey prices apply to each discrete survey; NCQA does not apply credit forward to a future survey. Survey pricing reflects the amount and level of resources NCQA dedicates to evaluating an organization and at the time of the Full Certification Survey, NCQA must re-evaluate the organization on all requirements.

11.17.2008 Credit for Physician Recognition Programs Define how NCQA Physician Recognition programs can be used for autocredit.

NCQAs Recognition Program measures meet many of the elements in PHQ.

If an organization takes action based on measures in NCQAs Recognition Programs, the measures meet the elements where specified in the standards. The organization does not need to provide additional documentation about how the measures meet these elements.

NCQAs Recognition Programs are the Diabetes Physician Recognition Program (DPRP); Heart-Stroke Recognition Program (HSRP); Back Pain Recognition Program (BPRP); Physician Practice Connections (PPC); and the Physician Practice ConnectionsPatient-Centered Medical Home (PPC-PCMH).

11.17.2008 Certification time limits How long does certification last?

Certification in PHQ, PQ or HQ is valid for two years. Organizations must undergo a survey against the standards at least every two years to maintain their certification status. Provisional Certification is valid for 12 months; it is a temporary option and will not be offered after June 30, 2009.

11.17.2008 Productivity measures Are productivity measures within scope? For example, number of visits per half day: does NCQA classify this as a utilization measure or as something else?

No. Productivity measures are out of scope for the 2008 PHQ standards. Quality, cost, resource use and utilization measures are in scope if the organization takes action based on them.

11.17.2008 Methodology for evaluation of cost measures What constitutes an acceptable methodological approach to evaluation of cost?

NCQA does not prescribe the cost measures an organization selects, though it requires an organization to specify all aspects of its methodology (Element C). In addition, the organization must risk-adjust its measures (Element C, factor 8) and must meet the minimum statistical requirements for measurement error and measure reliability (Element H, factor 2).

11.17.2008 Standardized measures What counts in the denominator for standardized measuresall measures on which action is taken, or all quality measures on which action is taken?

For Element A, the denominator is all quality measures on which the action is based and the numerator is measures that meet the definition of standardized in the Explanation.

11.17.2008 Use of rental networks and hospital quality For PHQ 2, Element E, if we "rent" our national hospital network and do not contract directly, may we share hospital results with the entity we rent from, rather than the individual hospitals?

Each hospital must receive results. Either the organization must provide results to each hospital or it may have a written agreement with the national network stating that it will provide results to hospitals. If the national network provides results to each hospital, it must provide documentation (e.g., reports, materials) to the organization that it has met the requirements.

11.17.2008 Survey pricing How much does the PHQ Survey cost?

11.17.2008 Measure requirements Regarding standardized measures, will the requirement of 70% of measures being standardized increase over time or will it be held constant?

NCQA has not decided. All products are periodically evaluated and proposed changes are published for Public Comment before updates are released.

11.17.2008 PHQ and HP Accreditation When will the PHQ standards be folded in to the health plan accreditation standards?

NCQA has not made a decision about incorporating the PHQ standards into health plan accreditation. Should NCQA decide to do so, it will put such a proposal out for Public Comment.