June 3, 2008 — Proposed standards and measures for a new Wellness and Health Promotion (WHP) product-evaluation suite from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) has been released for public comment. Members of the public are invited to comment on the measures through June 30.
The program will examine organizations that provide services to employers and health plans that seek to help employees and other participants better manage their own health. Nearly two-thirds of employers in the United States offer such services, such as health coaching, smoking cessation, and obesity management programs.
The proposed programs reflect the wide variety of health promotion services currently offered in the market. The WHP product suite includes a broad-based accreditation program for organizations that offer comprehensive wellness services as well as certification for organizations that only offer specific components, such as health appraisals and self-management tools. NCQA is also proposing a separate accreditation program for organizations that offer stand-alone weight management or smoking cessation programs.
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.
“The greatest value of this program to organizations such as ours is that it provides a consistent definition of excellence in the area of wellness and health promotion,” said David Anderson, PhD, vice president, program Strategy and development, Staywell Health Management. “Earning accreditation would show our customers the high level of service we provide — and the program’s standards and measures are a jumping-off point for quality improvement efforts.”
Details and instructions are available on NCQA’s Web site at www.ncqa.org.
The Wellness and Health Promotion product suite is slated for launch in early 2009.
Source: NCQA, www.ncqa.org