Measuring Quality in Rural Health Services: Are Hospital and Health Plan Accreditation Standards Appropriate for Rural Areas?

Research center:
Project completed:
December 1999
Policymakers are increasingly requiring health care providers to participate in standardized quality measurement and reporting systems for the purpose of identifying deficient providers, improving quality of services, and providing comparative information to health care purchasers and consumers. Rural health care providers - especially low volume ones - present special problems for designers of quality measurement tools. This project will evaluate the methodological problems inherent in measuring quality of health care services in rural areas. The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) and the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) accreditation standards and processes, and their impact on rural hospitals and health plans serving rural areas, will be considered as examples.

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