Sixteen Organizations Commit to Review under New Wellness Accreditation

The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) announced 16 organizations have committed to be among the first organizations to be surveyed under NCQA's new Wellness & Health Promotion Accreditation. This evaluation program will help employers and others compare wellness programs using standardized results and select a wellness program with demonstrated value and quality. More than three-fourths of the nation's leading employers offer wellness programs to their employees as a means to improve health and lower costs.

"Decades of work has shown that it is far easier to keep people healthy than it is restore them to health. While wellness programs across the country can help people make better choices, there is a lot of uncertainty about what makes a great program," said Margaret E. O'Kane, NCQA president. "NCQA's Wellness & Health Promotion Accreditation requires organizations to demonstrate their compliance with well-defined standards and quality measures. The NCQA seal will provide employers and consumers with the information they need to choose the best program in their markets."

"Improving the health of all Americans goes beyond caring for the sick and injured. It also means taking steps to prevent illness and steps that promote good health," said Julie Gerberding, M.D., M.P.H., director, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Promoting wellness through employer and health plan-based programs can help people develop healthier habits and live longer, more productive lives."

Under the new program, organizations that provide wellness programs can earn the status of "NCQA Accredited" by demonstrating how they focus programs to fit employer or plan sponsor needs, how they appropriately safeguard private information, and how they target wellness and health promotion actions to individuals based on identified needs.

Organizations that go further and provide data about how well their programs change behavior and improve health can earn the status of "NCQA Accredited with Performance Reporting." The "Accredited with Performance Reporting" status adds an additional standard that assesses ten performance measures reported by the organization. The performance measures will allow for comparison between programs. The measures include:

Staying Healthy: The percentage of adults who do not have a core risk such as obesity, smoking or physical inactivity. 
Participation: The percentage of adults who have a core risk factor and had at least one contact. 
Risk Reduction: The percentage of adults with a core risk factor that reduced their risk.

Organizations interested in coming forward for WHP Accreditation are encouraged to contact NCQA Customer Support at (888) 275-7585. More information about the program, including program standards, is available at http://www.ncqa.org.

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