Garry Carneal, president and chief executive officer of the Washington-based accreditation organization URAC for more than half its existence, will step down effective Aug. 1.
"I've been at URAC for nine years and decided I wanted to try something new," said Carneal, 45, who holds a law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law.
Founded in 1990 as the Utilization Review Accreditation Commission, the name was shortened to just the acronym in 1996, the same year Carneal arrived after serving as vice president for state and legal affairs for the American Association of Health Plans. At the time, URAC offered only one accreditation program -- in utilization review, he said.
"We've launched 15 new accreditation programs since then," Carneal said. The fastest growing among them is accreditation of case management.
"When we launched that four years ago, basically it represented the first time there were standards that looked at case management from an organizational perspective. Case management is now the glue that holds together the medical management system."
Charles Stellar, executive vice president of America's Health Insurance Plans and chairman of the board at URAC, said the quality of the accreditation programs developed under Carneal is more important than the volume.
"The true test is whether they have what I call long shelf life," Stellar said. "That certainly has occurred with URAC products."
Carneal said he has no firm future employment plans, but has several job possibilities under consideration.
"I'm very interested in the medical management systems," he said. "I may get involved in that. I'll start thinking in earnest about it a month from now."
Carneal said he'll leave URAC in good shape financially and with prospects for continued growth.
The organization's Form 990 filing with the Internal Revenue Service for 2003 showed revenue of $5.2 million with a surplus (what passes for net income in the not-for-profit report) of $307,000, according to URAC spokesperson Katherine Capps. The filing date has not been reached for 2004, Capps said, but URAC expects to report about $7.1 million in revenue and a surplus of more than $1 million, she said.
During Carneal's tenure, reserves at the organization have increased from about a half million dollars to $6 million, Capps said.
Whatever career path he selects, Carneal said he will remain "absolutely committed" to URAC's quality-based mission and plans to stay active as a URAC volunteer.
Stellar said the board will appoint a search committee soon to begin looking for Carneal's replacement.
"Our hope is to do it on our own," without a hiring a search firm, Stellar said.