News Feature | October 29, 2014

EHNAC Releases ACO Accreditation Draft Criteria For Public Comments

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

ACO Accreditation Draft

Criteria released for public review for EHNAC’s Accountable Care Organization Accreditation Program.

The Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission (EHNAC) has released the first draft criteria for its newest accreditation program for public review and comment. EHNAC is a non-profit standards development organization and accrediting body for organizations that exchange healthcare data through electronic means.

The comment period is open for 60 days, ending on December 22, and EHNAC is encouraging input from interested parties “with regard to the necessity, appropriateness and workability of the Accountable Care Organization Accreditation Program (ACOAP) criteria proposed for adoption.”

EHNAC’s criteria provide the foundations requirements for each of its accreditation programs in terms of measuring the ability of an organization to meet federal and state healthcare mandates and regulations, including HIPAA, Omnibus, ARRA/HITECH, ACA, and other mandates covering privacy, security, confidentiality, best practices, procedures, and assets.

In an earlier release, Lee Barrett, EHNAC’s executive director stated, “Today’s ACOs have taken the lead in driving the value-based care model and placing the importance of improving patient outcomes above all else. This new program strengthens the data exchange platforms that make those clinical successes possible by giving a third-party ‘stamp of approval’ to those ACO stakeholders who have demonstrated the secure management of protected health information (PHI) and can provide assurances to their overall corporate integrity and trust between entities.”

According to Health Data Management, the program was developed by EHNAC over the past months, and incorporated input from a range of stakeholders. The goal was to address the accountable care organizations, payers and the vendors that serve them.

According to the recent EHNAC press release, “ACOAP recognizes excellence on the part of ACOs and related IT service organizations by assessing network infrastructure and exchange connectivity. In addition, the accreditation program focuses on technical performance, business processes and resource management, as well as other key performance quality metrics from areas such a population health, care coordination and other facets to establish trust with all stakeholders within the ACO environment.”

The comprehensive criteria include specific categories for appropriate population health management and reporting, covering population identification, disease prevalence, disease measurement and reporting, preventive and screening rates, and community visibility, communication and collaboration. It also includes a review of the internal flow of protected health information within provider, payor, or vendor organizations; data privacy and confidentiality protections; and appropriateness of technical capabilities such as data validation and conversion or exchange of protected health information. Further, it requires a minimum system availability of 98 percent; seven year records of audits; and quarterly threat and vulnerability assessments and established breach notification protocols.

Other aspects covered by the accreditation process include: business practices, resources, patient consent procedures, user authorization and authentication, patient and provider engagement, population health management and reporting, and coordination of care.

EHNAC has provided a range of accreditation services for over 20 years. The draft criteria available for comment are here.