BALTIMORE – Maryland Insurance Commissioner Kathleen A. Birrane has been elected to the Board of Directors of URAC -- a national nonprofit organization that helps promote health care quality and equity through accreditation, certification, education and measurement programs.
URAC is widely considered the gold standard for health care accreditation and certification because of its independence and rigorous, evidence-based standards. Commissioner Birrane will be representing the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) on the Board of Directors. Her three-year term began on May 1, 2021.
“I am honored to serve as the NAIC’s representative on the URAC Board of Directors,” Commissioner Birrane said. “URAC plays a critical role in ensuring the delivery of high quality health care for all communities. Its accreditation and certification standards drive continuous improvement, particularly with respect to parity and equity. I look forward to working with the other members of the Board and the URAC management team.”
Based in Washington, D.C., URAC was formed in 1990 after significant legislation sought to eliminate health plans’ ability to conduct utilization review and health plans saw the need to develop new standards. In 1991, URAC set national standards to meet the pressing need of health plans to conduct utilization review. Later, these standards were broadened to include a foundational focus on business functions and quality management oversight, including operations infrastructure and risk management.
URAC was originally incorporated under the name Utilization Review Accreditation Commission. That name was shortened to the acronym URAC in 1996 when it began accrediting other types of organizations such as pharmacies and provider organizations.
In 2020, URAC launched a mental health parity manager compliance tool and the industry’s first mental health parity accreditation. Also, in response to the COVID-19 emergency, the organization revised its telehealth accreditation standards “to measure, identify and support the highest quality telehealth services in the future with a focus on quality, privacy and security.”
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