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Home / News & IndustryManaged Care Insight and Analysis
Updated: Nov. 11, 2008
New NCQA Program To Evaluate Wellness And Health Promotion

The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) released proposed standards and measures for a new wellness and health promotion (WHP) product evaluation suite.

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, including health coaching, smoking cessation and obesity management programs.

"The three biggest contributors to rising health costs and declining health in America — smoking, poor diet and lack of exercise — are avoidable risks. Effective wellness programs lay out a clear, achievable approach to help people make healthy decisions every day," said Patricia Barrett, NCQA vice president for product development. "This new program will help employers safeguard the health and productivity of their employees by choosing the best programs available."

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.

"Employee health management is quickly becoming an accepted practice among an increasing number of employers. At the same time, the field has become more complex and there may be questions of accountability," said Bill Whitmer, president and CEO of the Health Enhancement Research Organization, a coalition of employers and others that promote prevention and disease management. "Accurately defining program quality, establishing standards and holding organizations accountable constitutes a major step forward in our shared effort to control health costs, manage work performance and improve employee well-being."

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.

Address: National Committee for Quality Assurance, 1100 13th Street, NW, Suite 1000, Washington DC 20005; (202)955-3500,

  This article was taken from:
The Executive Report on Managed Care

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