The National Committee for Quality Assurance is taking public comments on a new program to accredit providers of wellness services.
The NCQA group, a national non-profit that accredits programs in the healthcare field, hopes to offer the accreditation in early 2009. The group has no connection to government agencies.
NCQA’s stated vision: “To transform health care quality through measurement, transparency and accountability.”
From the press release [I’ve added the bolding]:
NCQA’s new WHP program will examine whether wellness companies use evidence-based methods to improve and maintain good health. The comprehensive accreditation program assesses several key areas in health promotion, including whether:
· Wellness programs are implemented in the workplace,
· Individual health information is properly safeguarded.
· Services such as coaching are provided to help participants develop skills to make healthy choices, and
· Continuous efforts to improve program quality are in place.
Supporters say the effort will ensure that people in the field use consistent, science-based definitions and goals to deliver wellness services. Companies can be assured a vendor is abiding by best practices.
It’s also a good sign that wellness programs are being adopted very widely and are being taken seriously.
But it can also add a burden to small companies. And it’s sure to generate controversy, since the devil is in the details. How do you define “smoking cessation,” and how do you verify a program’s success? What qualifies as “coaching”?
And how much will this cost wellness companies that decide to pursue accreditation?
Members of the public are invited to comment on the measures through June 30. Details and instructions are available on NCQA’s Web site at http://www.ncqa.org/.
There are a lot of unknowns at this point. I’ll keep you posted as I learn more.
But for now, does anybody out there have comments on this development? Is accreditation good for the wellness industry or not?