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January 14, 2013

Billings Clinic designated as accredited Accountable Care Organization
Billings Clinic One of First Four in the Nation to Receive NCQA Designation

Billings, MT— The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) announced that Billings Clinic is one of the first four healthcare organizations in the nation to receive accreditation as an Accountable Care Organization (ACO). Billings Clinic was one of six organizations seeking ACO accreditation through the NCQA when it began accepting submissions in March 2012.

The NCQA ACO Accreditation program provides guidance and standards for provider-led organizations to demonstrate their ability to improve quality and the patient experience while reducing the cost of care. ACO accreditation helps determine if an organization has the infrastructure for accountability to patients and employers on outcomes of care and cost. ACOs provide coordinated services which are preventive and proactive in nature, often reducing the need for high-cost hospitalization episodes associated with catastrophic care.

“We know changes are needed for how we coordinate health care in this country. Accreditation from NCQA helps us measure the effectiveness of how our organization is using Accountable Care Organization (ACO) strategies to deliver health care that is focused on both quality and value,” said Nick Wolter, M.D., CEO of Billings Clinic. “This accreditation demonstrates to our patients, to our payers and to all of our stakeholders that we are careful with our resources and committed to integrating processes that will benefit the care for the patients we serve,” he continues.

The NCQA Accountable Care Organization Accreditation is voluntary and evaluates an organization’s ability to deliver coordinated, patient-centered care; to improve clinical quality; to enhance the patient experience; and to reduce costs through quality clinical practices. Being named an accredited ACO by the NCQA helps purchasers and providers identify effective partners and helps patients find physicians who are committed to providing quality care.

To receive accreditation, which is valid for three years, Billings Clinic underwent a rigorous assessment that focused on the evaluation of 14 standards and 65 elements that include:

  • ACO Structure and Operations
  • Access to Needed Providers
  • Patient-Centered Primary Care
  • Care Management
  • Care Coordination and Transitions
  • Patient Rights and Responsibilities
  • Performance Reporting and Quality Improvement

The NCQA also collected data on key clinical and service measures such as mammography screening rates, comprehensive diabetes care and consumer satisfaction. Based on the comprehensive survey, NCQA assigns a level status to the organization.

“By being one of the first organizations to earn NCQA ACO Accreditation, Billings Clinic has demonstrated to payers and other purchasers that it has met challenging requirements designed to show the efficiency, integration and high quality expected of an accountable care organization. NCQA Accreditation also shows patients and providers that Billings Clinic is prepared to deliver on the promise of better care on all these dimensions,” said NCQA President Margaret E. O’Kane.

About the NCQA ACO Program:
The NCQA program contains many consumer protections and aligns with consumer protection principles outlined in the National Partnership for Women & Families’ Campaign for Better Care. ACOs are generally defined as provider-based entities that aim to improve the quality of health care and reduce cost growth for a group of people. In order to have enough patients for quality reporting and managing financial risk, ACOs must serve at leave 5,000 patients a year.

About NCQA:
NCQA is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving health care quality. NCQA accredits and certifies a wide range of health care organizations. It also recognizes clinicians and practices in key areas of performance. NCQA is committed to providing health care quality information for consumers, purchasers, health care providers and researchers.


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