What Is URAC Community Pharmacy Accreditation?

Community pharmacy accreditation from URAC recognizes the expanding role of community pharmacies and pharmacists beyond drug dispensing.

Community pharmacy accreditation from URAC recognizes the expanding role of community pharmacies and pharmacists beyond drug dispensing.

According to URAC, an independent accreditor that establishes benchmarks and standards for pharmacy practice, any “duly licensed pharmacy in good standing within the jurisdiction of its practice that has at least 1 retail location handling prescription intake and dispensing as well as providing and reporting outcomes on medication therapy management and drug therapy management is the type of organization that applies for URAC Community Pharmacy accreditation.”

URAC currently boasts more than 400 active and applicant pharmacy accreditations. For its community pharmacy accreditation, however, only CVS/pharmacy has full accreditation, which it achieved in July 2014 but is set to expire on August 1, 2017.

To earn this accreditation, CVS/pharmacy underwent a rigorous evaluation that validated the quality of the patient care and services it provides, including medication therapy management, wellness services, patient counseling and education, and preventive and chronic disease management. Other community pharmacy standards assessed by URAC include quality measures reporting, quality management and performance oversight, and pharmacy structure, operations, and drug utilization management.

“Having a widely recognized and respected accreditation organization such as URAC independently scrutinize our operation and attest to the quality of the pharmacy care and services we provide demonstrates our continued commitment to helping people on their path to better health as a leader in the healthcare industry,” Josh Flum, senior vice president of retail pharmacy at CVS Caremark, previously stated. “We are proud to be the first national pharmacy to earn URAC Community Pharmacy Accreditation.”

All URAC accreditation reviews have 2 parts: the “desktop review,” which examines documents such as those related to the applicant’s policies and procedures, and the validation review, which is conducted by URAC reviewers and the applicant.

The results of these reviews are then forwarded to an independent accreditation committee comprised of diverse representatives from the health care quality industry who have experience with URAC accreditation. Any applicant information presented to this committee is blinded so that members will not know the organization’s identity.

From there, the independent accreditation committee may grant the applicant full accreditation, conditional accreditation, provisional accreditation, or denial.

· Full accreditation must be renewed every 3 years.

· Conditional accreditation requires the organization to be reviewed again within 3 to 6 months.

· Provisional accreditation is awarded to organizations that are not yet able to provide data for a full evaluation.

· Denied applicants have the option to appeal accreditation decisions for less than full accreditation status. If an applicant organization feels it is unlikely to pass accreditation, URAC allows it to withdraw its application through a written request.

Other URAC Pharmacy Quality Management accreditation programs include specialty pharmacy, mail service pharmacy, drug therapy management, pharmacy benefit management, and workers’ compensation pharmacy benefit management.