First candidates seek NCQA accountable care accreditation

The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) yesterday announced six candidates for its accountable care organization (ACO) accreditation program, launched just two months ago. Among the "early adopters," as NCQA has designated them, are Billings (Mont.) Clinic; Essentia Health in Duluth, Minn.; and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Other candidates include HealthPartners in Minneapolis, Minn.; Crystal Run Healthcare in Middletown, N.Y.; and Kelsey-Seybold Clinic in Houston.

This first batch of organizations seeking ACO accreditation have committed to undergo NCQA's full review of ACO capabilities between March 1 and Dec. 31, according to a press release from the accreditor yesterday.

What's in it for these ACO early adopters who voluntarily seek evaluation? NCQA offers an independent assessment of ACO readiness, NCQA said. "Organizations that earn accreditation may have extra credibility and first-mover advantages in their local markets. Being an early adopter of ACO accreditation may also help an organization become eligible to participate in demonstration projects or pilot programs that public and private health plans sponsor," according to the press release.

Although separate from the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation Center's application, NCQA said its independent accreditation program aligns with many aspects of the Medicare Shared Savings program.

ACOs generally are defined as provider-based entities that aim to improve quality healthcare and cost savings for a group of people, according to NCQA. In order to have enough patients for quality reporting and managing financial risk, ACOs must serve at least 5,000 patients, it said.

To learn more:
- read the NCQA press release

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