The URAC board has approved a set of Consumer Education and Support accreditation standards.[@@]

The new accreditation program appears to be the first to address the quality of the new “consumer-directed” health plans, according to URAC, Washington.

URAC, a group founded to set quality standards for the utilization management services that serve preferred provider organizations, now runs 17 accreditation and certification programs in a variety of health care fields.

The new standards will focus mainly on consumer education and support features at consumer-directed plans because the typical features of such plans continue to change rapidly, URAC executives say.

URAC will look at general factors such as regulatory compliance and consumer protection procedures, but many other standards will deal with matters such as consumer access to health plan quality and cost tools and access to personal health assessment tools, URAC says.