URAC standards put to the test

Beta users try out new clinical integration measures
By Bernie Monegain
11:01 AM

Several organized physician groups are beta testing URAC’s new clinical integration accreditation program standards. The independent standards organization created the new program to serve as a road map for health providers to achieve clinical integration and accountable care. By earning URAC accreditation, providers will demonstrate they are delivering improved patient care and reducing costs.

URAC’s clinical integration accreditation program guides healthcare providers in a number of areas for transforming care delivery, including operations, health information technology, clinical management, care coordination and population health.

“We value the insights the beta testers have shared about URAC’s clinical integration accreditation,” Jane Webster, senior vice president for research, development and planning at URAC, said in a news release. “Feedback from healthcare providers helps to develop a product that matches industry needs. The beta testers also gain an advantage in the market by becoming early adopters, building the organizational foundation needed to become a fully accountable clinically integrated network.”

Clinically integrated providers unite around the needs of each patient, delivering care based on a common set of clinical best practices. URAC’s new standards have been designed to align with Federal Trade Commission antitrust regulations. The program is designed to work for a variety of health providers, from small to large, including specialty groups.

The benefits of becoming clinically integrated are substantial for improving care delivery, reducing cost, and demonstrating evidence-based outcomes, say URAC officials. Hallmarks include seamless care coordination, timely sharing of patient medical information, and close tracking of care referrals and follow-up.

Providers beta testing URAC’s clinical integration accreditation program are:

  • American Specialty Health Group, San Diego – American Specialty Health Group Inc. is an evidence-based, technology enabled, clinically and financially integrated specialty network management company. ASH Group contracts with more than 24,000 different ancillary and specialty providers nationally.
  • Chicago Health System, Westmont, Ill. – Chicago Health System is composed of more than 600 providers across more than 30 specialties, including four hospitals and medical centers. The system works to deliver better patient care by coordinating providers and health information.
  • Crozer-Keystone Health System, Springfield, Pa. – Crozer-Keystone Health System includes five hospitals and more than 1,100 physicians. The health system offers a full spectrum of wellness, prevention, acute care, and rehabilitation services.
  • Frontier Healthcare Holdings, New York – Frontier Healthcare partners with physician groups to manage ambulatory surgery centers. Its network of nearly 80 doctors represents more than 100,000 cases annually.
  • Sharp Community Medical Group, San Diego – Sharp Community Medical Group is an association of primary care physicians and specialists in private practice. The network includes more than 225 primary care physicians and more than 530 specialists.
  • Signal Health, Yakima, Wash. – Signal Health is a clinically integrated network including one hospital and more than 250 providers serving more than 300,000 patients. Its goal is to provide high quality, coordinated, cost-efficient care.
  • St. Francis Healthcare Partners, Hartford, Conn. – Saint Francis HealthCare Partners is a network of independent healthcare practitioners serving more than 700 physicians in more than 200 medical practices. Over its 20-year history, the organization has been recognized for value and innovation in patient care. Clinical integration is accomplished through the early-adoption of interactive IT solutions, single-signature-authority contracting and care coordination across the continuum.