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NCQA Lists ACO Early Adopters

January 13, 2012
by Gabriel Perna
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The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), a non-profit organization, has listed the sixprovider-based entities that are the first aspiring accountable care organizations (ACOs) to seek accreditation under NCQA’s ACO Accreditation program launched in November.

The six early adopters are: 

• Billings Clinic, Billings, Mont. 
• Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Penn.
• Crystal Run Healthcare, Middletown, N.Y.
• Essentia Health, Duluth, Minn.
• HealthPartners, Minneapolis, Minn.
• Kelsey-Seybold Clinic, Houston, Texas

The early–adopter designation means these organizations have committed to undergoing a full NCQA survey of their ACO capabilities between March 1 and Dec. 31, 2012.

Getting an independent assessment of an organization’s readiness to be an ACO is a benefit to being an early adopter according to the NCQA. Organizations that earn accreditation may have extra credibility and first-mover advantages in their local markets, the group also added. Being an early adopter of ACO accreditation also may also help an organization become eligible to participate in demonstration projects or pilot programs that public and private health plans sponsor. 

NCQA’s ACO Accreditation program aims to help provider-led organizations down the path of demonstration their ability to reach the triple aim: reduce cost, improve quality and enhance the patient experience.   The program aligns with many aspects of the Medicare Shared Savings Program and addresses expectations common among private purchasers

It also uses three levels of accreditation to signify differing levels of ACO readiness and capability. Accreditation standards require ACOs to demonstrate capabilities in seven areas. To earn the highest of three possible accreditation levels, an ACO must not only meet standards but also demonstrate strong performance or significant improvement on core measures of clinical quality, patient experience and efficiency/utilization.

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