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July 21, 2008
Group Explores Standards for Wellness Programs

A group that accredits healthcare organizations has released a draft of standards for wellness programs.

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URAC said it formed an advisory group for creation of accreditation standards and measures in response to employers' requests for quality standards and measures for both comprehensive and focused wellness programs. The more than 50 advisory committee members include employers, health plans, public benefits organizations, healthcare professional associations, healthcare providers, and wellness promotion companies.

The group has been collaborating to draft the standards, which were released for public comment recently. The deadline for public comment is August 7, 2008.

URAC offers more than 20 accreditation and certification programs, including health management accreditation programs for utilization management, disease management, and case management.

The group says the new health management accreditation programs for Comprehensive Wellness and Focused Wellness promotion programs are a response to the need for national standards to measure the effectiveness of these programs that focus on health promotion, chronic disease prevention, and health risk reduction.

"URAC Comprehensive Wellness and Focused Wellness Health Management Accreditation Programs will help employers recognize quality programs which are based on reliable standards for program participant assessment, wellness interventions and program evaluation," said Douglas Metz, chairman of the URAC Standards Committee. "The Comprehensive Wellness Standards will include specific program quality measures. This is the first time a URAC accreditation program has included quantitative measurement as a component of its standards. As employers focus more on wellness, health improvement, and productivity improvement, the development of standards and expectations for companies providing wellness programs is crucial for the improved quality and efficiency of wellness interventions that are developed and implemented."

The Wellness Accreditation draft standards are available for review at http://www.urac.org/publiccomment/ . URAC will accept comments through this online comment form only. After the comment period, the committee will make recommended changes to the draft standards and measures, which will then undergo Beta testing and evaluation. The group expects to release Final Wellness Accreditation standards and measures in December.

Organizations represented on the advisory committee are:

Aetna
Alabama State Employee's Insurance Board
American Association of Preferred Provider Organizations
American College of Physicians
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
American Institute for Preventive Medicine
American Psychiatric Association
American Specialty Health
Aquila, Ltd., Health & Fitness Solutions
Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
Broadspire, a Crawford Company
Case Management Society of America
ComPsych Corporation
Coventry Health Care
Coventry Workers Comp Services
Disease Management Association of America
Georgia Department of Health
Employees' Benefits Program, State of Nevada
Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas
Free & Clear, Inc.
Intel Corporation
HAYES, Inc.
Health Designs
Health & Fitness Solutions
Healthways, Inc.
Humana, Inc.
HPN Worldwide, Inc.
Iowa Foundation for Medical Care
Marathon Health
Matria Health Enhancement
Maxim Health Systems
MAXIMUS Federal Services, Inc.
McKesson Health Solutions
MedCom Care Management a wholly owned subsidiary of Gilsbar, Inc.
Mercer
Midland Health
National Association of Specialty Health Organizations
National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
New York Presbyterian Hospital ­    Department of Psychiatry
Partnership for Prevention
Plus One Health Management
Principal Financial Group
Procter & Gamble
StayWell Health Management
Tangerine Wellness
The Leapfrog Group
The Regence Group
The Vitality Group
Trajectory HealthCare, LLC
Towers Perrin
Toyota North America
TriWest
TriWest Healthcare Alliance
US Corporate Wellness, Inc.
Vision Service Plan
WebMD Health Services
Wellness Coaches USA
WellPoint

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