While accreditation firm URAC is advancing in its work to accredit “clinically integrated networks” such as accountable care organizations and medical homes, the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology is testing the waters about certifying ACOs.
URAC in November released for public comment proposed initial standards for integrated care with a deadline of Dec. 28. Now, it has announced the first three beta sites and is seeking more sites for testing in January and February of 2013. The organization expects to release the final accreditation standards in the spring.
The initial beta sites are Catholic Medical Partners IPA in Buffalo, N.Y.; multi-specialty group practice Essen Medical Associates P.C. in Bronx, N.Y.; and St. Vincent’s Health Partners in Bridgeport, Conn. URAC is seeking additional providers, such as single- and multispecialty practices; specialty networks covering chiropractic, vision or physical medicine; independent practice associations; and physician-hospital organizations. For more information, contact Lucia Rosenberg at email@example.com or 267-804-4784 before December 31.
CCHIT has been certifying electronic health records systems for meeting specific performance benchmarks for six years--several years before the meaningful use program began. The organization in October also became the certifying entity for a new stakeholder initiative to certify health information exchange products from EHRs and HIEs.
Now, CCHIT will develop a “certification framework” for ACOs to identify I.T. infrastructure components necessary to function as an ACO and identify gaps that would prevent providers from meeting their goals.
The organization is “looking at other opportunities that will complement our work and we believe expanding into the ACO environment is one way to do that,” says William Jessee, M.D., chair of the CCHIT board. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the decision is final, according to a spokesperson, who says the determination will be made following completion of the framework and more analysis of market need and acceptance.
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