ACOs get new criteria for NCQA accreditation

Healthcare organizations looking to show their accountable care readiness and capability now have the technical specifications that each ACO must meet, the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) announced this month.

The technical measures will help ACOs define populations for measurement and properly collect and report quality performance, according to the nonprofit accreditor.

"Releasing these measure specifications is also an important step in making ACOs a functioning, vibrant part of American healthcare," NCQA Vice President of Performance Measurement Mary Barton said in a statement.

Moreover, the provider-led ACOs must show they meet the technical specifications across the continuum of care, from physician's office to clinic to acute care hospital to skilled nursing facility or hospice, HealthLeaders Media reported today.

The new ACO accreditation measures add on to already established criteria, including access to needed providers, patient-centered primary care, and patient rights and responsibilities, among others.

So far, the first batch of provider organizations seeking ACO accreditation from the NCQA totals six. Results for the "early adopters"--Billings (Mont.) Clinic; Essentia Health in Duluth, Minn.; Children's Hospital of Philadelphia; HealthPartners in Minneapolis, Minn.; Crystal Run Healthcare in Middletown, N.Y.; and Kelsey-Seybold Clinic in Houston--will be released Dec. 31.

However, the NCQA also expects many of the 100 self-identified ACOs to seek evaluation next year, noted HealthLeaders.

That number could rise, as a June report from intelligence business firm Leavitt Partners found ACO development across the nation grew by 38 percent in six months to more than 200 identified ACOs in the nation.

For more:
- read the HealthLeaders article
- check out the NCQA announcement