Healthcare Business News

Children's hospital becomes sixth ACO accredited by NCQA

By Rachel Landen
Posted: February 14, 2013 - 9:00 pm ET

The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia is the first children's hospital to earn the National Committee for Quality Assurance's accreditation as an accountable care organization.

The 469-bed hospital is the sixth healthcare organization to achieve the designation since the NCQA named the first one in December.

ACOs, which aim to meet quality benchmarks for care while reducing costs, must serve at least 5,000 patients annually to be considered for NCQA accreditation. They can include group practices, networks of individual practices, hospitals, provider-health plan partnerships and publicly governed entities that arrange care.

“Years of hard work across the organization has built an infrastructure that supports quality improvements, patient-centered care and care coordination,” Madeline Bell, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's president and chief operating officer, said in a news release.

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The NCQA's voluntary accreditation involves evaluation in seven categories to determine if an organization provides both quality and efficient care. The metrics include structure and operations, access to needed providers, patient-centered primary care, care management, care coordination and transitions, patient rights and responsibilities, and performance reporting and quality improvement.

Organizations can achieve one of three increasing levels of accreditation. A Level 1 status, as awarded to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, is good for two years. A Level 2 or 3 status expires after three years. The NCQA will reassess and update the standards every three to five years.

The first ACO to receive the NCQA nod was Kelsey-Seybold Clinic, Houston. The others are Billings (Mont.) Clinic; Essentia Health, Duluth, Minn.; Crystal Run Healthcare, Middletown, N.Y.; and HealthPartners, Bloomington, Minn.

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