WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) invites the public’s input on proposed standards for a new product that is tentatively titled the NCQA Specialty Practice Recognition Program.
The public comment period begins at 9 a.m. EDT on June 11 and ends at 5 p.m. EDT on July 6, 2012. Visit ncqa.org to participate.
The patient-centered medical home has been a successful model for improving the quality of primary care. As this program has grown, NCQA has been approached by specialty practices that wish to be considered as patient-centered medical homes. At the same time, we have learned that one of the barriers to effective care coordination is the breakdown of communication between specialists and primary care providers.
NCQA embarked on developing this specialty practice recognition program to encourage specialty providers to work to communicate and coordinate with primary care providers and to be visibly recognized for this important work.
We anticipate that payers and sponsors of programs to improve care delivery will find specialty practice recognition valuable as a way to build delivery system reforms that go beyond primary care, while strengthening the roles of both primary care and specialty practices. We also expect that this will enhance patient-centeredness and quality in care delivery.
The proposed program will build on the Patient-Centered Medical Home model and specialists’ strong commitment to patient-centered care. The program will align with Meaningful Use, including the final requirements for Stage 2. Specialists who meet the program’s standards will be able to apply starting in early 2013.
Studies have shown that lack of communication and coordination between primary care and specialty practices leads to inadequate access, duplication of services and poor coordination of care. The new program will recognize specialty practices that:
- Coordinate care
- Provide timely access to care
- Use information technology to reduce duplicative tests
- Improve communications with patients and
- Support continuous quality improvement.
Public comment is a valuable step in the development process and allows NCQA to obtain input on whether these standards are the right ones to measure quality care as well as which ones may be too challenging for current practice. NCQA uses the input to revise elements of the program as well as to determine scoring for each part.
After the public comment period, NCQA will review the findings with a multi-stakeholder advisory committee. NCQA will also conduct pilot testing, which includes targeted interviews with interested specialty practices. The final product will launch in the first quarter of 2013.
NCQA is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to improving health care quality. NCQA accredits and certifies a wide range of health care organizations. It also recognizes clinicians and practices in key areas of performance. NCQA’s Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS®) is the most widely used performance measurement tool in health care. NCQA is committed to providing health care quality information for consumers, purchasers, health care providers and researchers.