URAC Patient Centered Health Care Home Education and Evaluation Program Now Open For Public Comment

Jun 29, 2010, 15:33 ET from URAC

Public Input Sought at http://www.urac.org/publiccomment/

WASHINGTON, June 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- URAC today announced a call for public comment on the design and content of its new Patient Centered Health Care Home (PCHCH) Education and Evaluation Program. The program is comprised of three complementary toolkits, which are geared to help health care practices follow a step-wise process in their journey to becoming a PCHCH.

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URAC will be soliciting public comment on the three PCHCH toolkits in two stages, with the first, the Health Care Practice Assessment toolkit, available for public comment starting today. The remaining two toolkits, one on Performance Measures and a Patient Experience/Satisfaction survey, will be available for public comment later this summer.

The Patient Centered Health Care Home Education and Evaluation Program's definition, guiding principles, and Health Care Assessment toolkit are available for review and comment at http://www.urac.org/publiccomment/. The deadline for public comment is August 12, 2010.

"The continued growth of patient centered health care home programs across the country, as well as their inclusion in health reform legislation will mean rapid growth in this innovative system," commented Alan P. Spielman, President and CEO of URAC. "URAC is uniquely positioned to assist programs in meeting the goals of cost effectiveness and efficacy, while protecting consumers and ensuring quality."

The Patient Centered Health Care Home Education and Evaluation Program is intended to be used by health care practices for their education and self-assessment, as well as by health plans, insurers, and pilot programs in defining and deciding which practices under their purview meet the sponsoring organization's requirements for a PCHCH, and any incentives which may be linked to achieving this status.

"This program provides clear guidance to meet the needs of this important new area," said Bernard Mansheim, MD, URAC Board Immediate Past Chair. "These toolkits were developed in collaboration with an advisory group of over 60 experts across all stakeholders. This program is the first national program to identify and help guide health care practices in adopting the key essential characteristics of a truly patient-centered health care home."

The principles and characteristics open for public comment include:

  • Enhanced access
  • Personal relationship between patients, families, and caregivers and their assigned and accountable care team members
  • Shared decision-making that actively engages the patient and respects his/her personal health goals cultural needs
  • Direct and ongoing care team oversight and coordination of all patient care and social needs
  • Smooth and timely care transitions and follow-up
  • Dedication to providing the highest quality care possible, eliminating care disparities, and driving down care costs

"As a doctor putting the health care home program into practice, I know that this model can provide quality care with positive patient experience at a lower total cost," explained Dr. Rushika Fernandopulle, Co-Founder of Renaissance Health. "The URAC program is innovative and necessary, because it truly puts the patient and their family at the center of care, while providing clear goals for caregivers and providers."

"URAC has a history of recognition and focus on care coordination as a vital quality component in the health care continuum, and care coordination is a central tenet of health care practice transformation to the medical home," said Edwina Rogers, executive director of the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative. "We are encouraged that URAC's emphasis on access, patient involvement in the care process and the central role of care coordination in these tools will promote adoption of the medical home model to caregivers across the nation."

The final program is expected to be reviewed by the URAC Board of Directors in December and launched in January 2011.

About URAC

URAC, an independent, nonprofit organization, is well-known as a leader in promoting health care quality through its accreditation, education and measurement programs. URAC offers a wide range of quality benchmarking programs and services that keep pace with the rapid changes in the health care system, and provide a symbol of excellence for organizations to validate their commitment to quality and accountability. Through its broad-based governance structure and an inclusive standards development process, URAC ensures that all stakeholders are represented in establishing meaningful quality measures for the entire health care industry. For more information, visit www.urac.org.