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FDA Compliance

Standards Revised for Pharmacy Quality Management Accreditation Programs

URAC’s revisions include new performance measures for greater transparency.

Published: Monday, January 3, 2011 - 16:48

(URAC: Washington) -- URAC, a leading health care accreditation and education organization, has released revisions to three products within its suite of Pharmacy Quality Management Accreditation programs. These revisions are part of organization’s commitment to regular comprehensive review of its standards.

These are the first revisions to URAC’s pharmacy standards nine new standards for mail service and workers’ compensation, 18 new standards for specialty pharmacy, and nine new measures for mail service and specialty pharmacy. The products revised include:

• Mail Service Pharmacy, version 2.0
• Specialty Pharmacy, version 2.0
• Workers’ Compensation and Property and Casualty for Pharmacy Benefit Management, version 2.0


In addition to revisions to several key standards, URAC has introduced new performance measures, including dispensing accuracy, medication adherence, generic dispensing rates, prescription turnaround time, and overall consumer satisfaction. The revisions are specifically designed to collect data on Mail Service and Specialty Pharmacy processes and outcomes considered critical for the evolution of professional practices in these areas.

“URAC standards bring definition and provide a foundation for consistently measuring customer care in our industry,” says Kevin D. Host, vice president of Specialty Pharmacy at PrescriptionSolutions. “Accreditation provides assurances to health plans and payers that, when selecting a partner or vendor in these specialized pharmacy areas, their members will be provided a high level of service and quality.”

Employers, consumers, regulators, and health plans can demonstrate their commitment to quality through URAC accreditation. Organizations having undergone URAC accreditation consistently report the value it has brought in improving operations and enhancing regulatory compliance activities.

“URAC provides consumers and health plan sponsors with greater confidence that the companies managing their prescription service are dedicated to quality improvement,” says J. Scott Reid, senior vice president of Specialty Pharmacy Operations at CVS Caremark. “Optimizing medication use through delivery of pharmacy care will be the primary goals in continuing to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of health care in the future. These programs can assure consumers that companies share the expertise and oversight that is necessary to manage complex treatment.”

New performance measures in these products allow organizations to show employers and other purchasers quantitative results related to consumer engagement, cost effectiveness, and consumer and client satisfaction. These measures will address areas such as medication possession ratios to assist with medication adherence, dispensing rates for generic medications, timely resolution of complaints, consumer satisfaction rates, and call center performance.

“The Pharmacy Quality Alliance is pleased to work with URAC on the updated pharmacy standards and measures,” says Laura Cranston, executive director of PQA, Inc. “Harmonization of measures, common terminology, and the use of a standard and updated set of metrics is critically important as we move forward. The collaborative relationship we have with URAC has been mutually beneficial.”

URAC developed these standards in collaboration with its Pharmacy Accreditation Advisory Group, which is comprised of 38 members representing a wide range of professionals from the health care sector, including employers, consumers, pharmacy consultants, health plans, independent retail pharmacies, pharmacy benefit management organizations, pharmacy professional organizations, labor, and large purchasing groups such as the Office of Personnel Management.

“It is vital in this health care environment that URAC standards remain current,” says Alan P. Spielman, president and CEO of URAC. “By incorporating measures into the pharmacy standards, URAC can facilitate quality improvement and innovation in the industry. Additionally, URAC’s goals are to encourage organizations to focus on outcomes for consumers and a dedication to patient safety."

For more information about these revised standards please contact business.development@urac.org or go to http://www.urac.org/pqm/.


About The Author

URAC’s picture


URAC, an independent, nonprofit organization, is well-known as a leader in promoting health care quality through its accreditation, education, and measurement programs. URAC offers a wide range of quality benchmarking programs and services that keep pace with the rapid changes in the health care system, and provide a symbol of excellence for organizations to validate their commitment to quality and accountability. Through its broad-based governance structure and an inclusive standards development process, URAC ensures that all stakeholders are represented in establishing meaningful quality measures for the entire health care industry.