The purpose of this article is to analyze state regulations regarding health maintenance organization (HMO) accreditation and external quality review; to briefly describe states' experiences implementing these regulations; and to discuss the implications of these regulations for HMOs serving rural areas. The incorporation of HMO accreditation and external quality review requirements into state HMO licensure processes and state employee contracting raises many policy issues, including several that are especially relevant to HMOs serving rural populations. A key issue is whether the linkage of accreditation and external quality review requirements to HMO licensure will be an additional deterrent to the development of new HMOs or the expansion of existing HMOs into rural areas. Other issues relate to the costs and benefits of accreditation for HMOs serving rural populations, and the potential impact of HMO accreditation requirements on efforts to expand managed care enrollment of rural Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries and rural state employees. Nine states were identified that have regulations requiring HMOs to seek accreditation or to undergo an external quality review as a condition of licensure. Four states were identified as implementing requirements that an HMO be accredited in order to serve state employees. Many of these requirements are still in the early stages of implementation. Several states with the requirements have significant rural populations and will provide opportunities to evaluate their impact on HMOs serving rural areas, rural providers and rural consumers.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||13|
|Journal||Journal of Rural Health|
|State||Published - Jan 1 2001|