FAQ Directory: Health Plan Accreditation

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8.24.2018 What is Health Plan Accreditation?

NCQA Health Plan Accreditation is the most widely recognized, evidence-based program in the industry dedicated to quality improvement and measurement. It provides a comprehensive framework for organizations to align and improve operations in areas that are most important to states, employers and consumers. It’s the only evaluation program that bases results on actual measurement of clinical performance (i.e., HEDIS measures) and consumer experience (i.e., CAHPS measures).

HP 2020

8.24.2018 What are Health Plan Accreditation requirements?

NCQA standards are a roadmap for improvement—organizations use them to perform a gap analysis and align improvement activities with areas that are most important to states and employers, such as network adequacy and consumer protection. Standards help plans in:

  • Quality Management and Improvement.
  • Population Health Management.
  • Network Management.
  • Utilization Management.
  • Credentialing and Recredentialing.
  • Members’ Rights and Responsibilities.
  • Member Connections.
  • Medicaid Benefits and Services.

HP 2020

8.24.2018 Where can I find the Health Plan Accreditation Standards and Guidelines?

8.24.2018 How does Health Plan Accreditation help my organization?

  • Use the NCQA Health Plan Accreditation standards to perform a gap analysis and determine improvement areas. They provide a framework for implementing evidence-based, best practices help plans improve in areas of:
    • QI process.
    • Population health management.
    • Practitioner network and access to care.
    • Utilization management processes.
    • Credentialing and recredentialing processes.
    • Members’ rights and responsibilities.
    • Member connection.
    • Medicaid service requirements.
  • Satisfy state requirements and employer needs. The standards align with many state requirements.

HP 2020

8.24.2018 What organizations are eligible for the LTSS Distinction for Health Plans? What organizations are eligible?

An organization is eligible for the NCQA LTSS Distinction for a product/product line if:

  • The product/product line has a current NCQA Accreditation status, or
  • The product/product line is seeking NCQA Health Plan Accreditation.

Note:  NCQA conducts LTSS Distinction Surveys at the legal-entity level. Organizations undergoing Interim Survey are not eligible for LTSS distinction.

Health plans that coordinate LTSS and do not provide medical or behavioral services are not eligible for this distinction but can earn Accreditation of Case Management for LTSS.

HP 2020

8.24.2018 How do I get started with LTSS Distinction for Health Plans?

If you are not currently accredited and want to learn more, contact NCQA. If you are currently accredited and want to talk to someone about your status or about renewing or adding accreditations, submit a question through My NCQA.

HP 2020

8.24.2018 What other health plans have earned LTSS Distinction?

8.17.2018 Where can I find information to help me get started with the LTSS Distinction?

8.15.2018 Updated: Use of Acronyms in UM Denial and Appeal Notices In UM 7, Elements B, E and H and UM 9, Element D, the explanation under Factor 1: states that the reason for denial should not include abbreviations or acronyms that are not defined. Similar language is in UM 8 A.
Does this mean that they must be spelled out (e.g., “We are denying your request for a deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) test because…”) or explained (“We are denying your request for a DNA test, which is a test that looks at your genetic information in order to…”), or both?

The intent of the requirement is that the denial or appeal notice be written in language that can be easily understood by members. Because abbreviations/acronyms may include terms that are not easily understood, even when spelled out, they must be explained. NCQA is updating the explanation under each applicable factor of the referenced elements to read:

The denial [appeal] notification states the reason for the denial [upholding the denial] in terms specific to the member’s condition or request and in language that is easy to understand, so the member and practitioner understand why the organization denied the request [upheld the denial] and have enough information to file an appeal.
An appropriately written notification includes a complete explanation of the grounds for the denial, in language that a layperson would understand, and does not include abbreviations, acronyms or health care procedure codes that a layperson would not understand. The organization is not required to spell out abbreviations/acronyms if they are clearly explained in lay language. Denial [Appeal] notifications sent only to practitioners may include technical or clinical terms.

NCQA will post an update in December for the 2018 and 2019 HP and UM-CR-PN and 2018 MBHO publications to reflect this change.

HP 2019

7.15.2018 Medical necessity review for personal care services Does NCQA require medical necessity review for personal care services, such as cooking, cleaning and transportation?

No. Medical necessity review is not required for personal care services and other activities of daily living in UM 4–UM 7. However, if these services are covered benefits, any denial decision may be appealed and is included in the scope of appeal file review for UM 9.

HP 2018

5.15.2018 MED standards and the new Medicaid module The previous MED standards are now 15 standards. Can you explain what happened?

In March, NCQA released an expanded Medicaid Module, a voluntary set of 15 standards for organizations with a Medicaid product line. This new module both incorporated the original MED standards (MED 1-MED 6) and added 10 new standards to align with provisions in the federal Medicaid Managed Care Final Rule released by CMS in April 2016.

The new MED module applies to only 2018 HPA; therefore, HPA survey tools for 2017 and earlier are unaffected and do not include the new Medicaid module.

HP 2018

2.15.2018 Identifying a member for Complex Case Management When is a member identified as eligible to receive complex case management services?

A member is identified to receive complex case management services in PHM 2, Element D. The organization’s policies and procedures describes its method for categorizing membership for involvement in complex case management. Once identified, the organization must begin the initial assessment within 30 days and complete within 60 days to meet the PHM 5, Element D requirement.

HP 2018