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Public Comments Requested for URAC's Revised Case Management Accreditation Standards

Tuesday, September 2, 2008 General News J E 4
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 2 URAC, one of the nation'sleading independent accrediting organizations, called for public comment todayon revisions to its draft Case Management accreditation standards. URAC isseeking input from any interested parties, including purchasers, policymakers, consumers, health care management organizations and health plans. Thedeadline for public comment is Oct. 7, 2008.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20030501/URACLOGO )

URAC initially called for public comment on the revised Case Managementstandards in April 2008, but determined that additional input was needed toensure that the current issues affecting the field of case management wereaddressed in the revised standards. A focus group of more than 40 volunteersin the field of case management was also called upon to assist the URAC HealthStandards Committee in the revision process.

Among the issues addressed as part of the revision are principles relatingto care transitions. URAC serves on the Advisory Task Force of the NationalTransitions of Care Coalition (NTOCC). NTOCC brings together thought leaders,patient advocates, and health care providers from various care settings in aneffort to improve the quality of care coordination and communication whenpatients are transferred from one level of care to another. Revisions toURAC's proposed Case Management standards elaborate on the assessment processand tools an organization makes available during care transitions.

Other changes to the proposed standards include promoting evidence-basedcase management practices, where goals established for consumers includeclinical outcomes; and addressing additional patient safety issues, such asmedication management. The new standards also update and clarify casemanagement and staff training to include training in evidence-based practiceguideline, as well as qualifications for case managers and case managementsupervisors. The role of non-case managers in the overall case managementprocess is also addressed.

"Transitions in care are a critical juncture in the patient's treatmentprocess. They require coordination and good communication between providersto ensure patient safety and optimal care," said Cheri Lattimer, executivedirector of the Case Management Society of America and NTOCC project director."URAC's draft standards support the ongoing efforts of case managers to maketransitions safer and to improve quality in the case management process."

The standards are available for review athttp://www.urac.org/publiccomment/. URAC will only accept comments throughthis online comment form. After public comment, additional revisions will bemade. Final draft standards are expected to be reviewed by URAC's Board ofDirectors in December 2008.

"URAC's standards revision process aims to bring all stakeholders to thetable to tap into industry expertise and current practice in the field. Aspart of that process, we are dedicated to carefully evaluating every publiccomment we receive," said Douglas Metz, DC, chairman of URAC's HealthStandards Committee and chief health services officer for American SpecialtyHealth. "Case management addresses some of the most complicated health caremanagement needs of patients in the health care system. URAC's standardsunderscore the importance of ongoing quality improvement efforts and patientsafety protocols within case management organizations."

About URAC

URAC, an independent, nonprofit organization, is well-known as a leader inpromoting health care quality through its accreditation and educationprograms. URAC offers a wide range of quality benchmarking programs andservices that keep pace with the rapid changes in the health care system, andprovide a symbol of excellence for organizations to validate their commitmentto quality and accountability. Through its broad-based governance structureand an inclusive
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