URAC accredits first disease management providers

Monday, September 30, 2002

WASHINGTON, D.C. - URAC, a Washington, D.C.-based health accreditation organization, named six companies today that have been accredited under its new Disease Management Standards, the most recent of which is American Healthways, based in Nashville, Tenn.

URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission, is a relative newcomer to accrediting these kinds of services, which in turn have only relatively recently begun to gain popularity in the health care community.

So, with JCAHO and NCQA already in the business of disease management accreditation, what does URAC bring to the mix?

"There are common themes in each set of standards and there are differences," said Liza Greenberg, URAC's vice president of research and quality. "But URAC's standards feed off one important principle: We are trying to promote evidence-based methods for disease management. You have to have evidence-based guidelines in your program or a very strong consensus-based set of standards that is completely defensible."

Greenberg says URAC's standards are probably most distinct from JCAHO's, and she expects URAC to pick up several hospitals in the coming months and years.

"We also expect our standards to appeal to a broad market - not just HMO-based programs but stand-alone ones and integrated medical manager programs," she added. HME