The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) has launched a Virtual Care Accreditation Pilot program, which it says is a key step in NCQA’s development of a quality improvement framework for organizations that provide care via telehealth or other digital platforms.
The nonprofit NCQA selected as pilot organizations a set of 18 organized and engaged entities from the more than 100 that applied. Based in 12 states and Puerto Rico, pilot organizations include health plans, health systems, Federally Qualified Health Centers, patient-centered medical homes and virtual first/virtual only organizations.
The pilot organizations will provide input to the development of NCQA’s Virtual Care Accreditation, a program highlighting the quality of care patients receive through virtual or hybrid modalities from many kinds of healthcare organizations.
Virtual Care Accreditation will highlight and distinguish organizations using virtual modalities to identify gaps in care, provide high-quality care and report and track outcomes.
Early versions of the program will focus on primary care and urgent care. Later versions will provide opportunities for organizations to distinguish themselves for other kinds of care they deliver virtually. Likely options include behavioral healthcare and acute, post-acute or specialty care.
“Care delivery has evolved, and virtual care is a new normal in desperate need of standardization and reliable quality assessment,” said NCQA President Margaret E. O’Kane, in a statement. “Virtual Care Accreditation will be a roadmap and the foundation of the safe, effective and equitable virtual care people need.”
Four phases compose the roughly 10-month pilot program: learning, testing, preparation and evaluation. An early adopter program and launch of Virtual Care Accreditation will follow the pilot program in mid- to late-2024.
Virtual care pilot organizations include:
Aetna Better Health of Virginia
Blue Shield of California
ChristianaCare Health System—The Center for Virtual Health
Lehigh Valley Physicians Group
Patient-Centered Medical Homes
Union Health Center
Federally Qualified Health Centers
Beaufort Jasper Hampton Comprehensive Health Services Inc.
Institute for Family Health
Migrant Health Center Western Region Inc.
Zufall Health Center
Privia Virtual Health LLC