COA's Standards for Primary Care Services Released Today

New standards to guide organizations as they evolve to a new model of integrated healthcare addressed in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

To improve the quality of healthcare and decrease patient costs, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) emphasizes implementation of a coordinated delivery system that integrates behavioral health and primary care services. As service delivery systems continue to evolve to implement these provisions of the ACA, many COA accredited organizations are now directly providing primary physical care. 

With that in mind, COA engaged Mary Cesare-Murphy, Ph.D., to assist us in developing a new section of standards for Primary Care Services (PCS). We are pleased to announce the release of the PCS and PA-PCS standards, now available for use.

"These new standards are performance expectations that COA accredited organizations, not yet providing primary care, may use as a roadmap to design new primary care services and move into the arena of integrated care.

Mary Cesare-Murphy

Behavioral Health Consultant and PCS co-author

For many of the more than 2,200 community-based organizations that we accredit, the rapidly evolving behavioral health landscape poses a significant challenge. In January 2014, we introduced the Integrated Care; Health Homes (ICHH, PA-ICHH) standards as an initial step to guide COA accredited organizations in systematically coordinating an individual's behavioral and physical health. The new PCS standards combined with the ICHH standards allow organizations to be COA accredited when they provide the full array of primary physical and behavioral health services.

Who is impacted by these standards?

The PCS standards will be used by applicable organizations also pursuing accreditation under the ICHH standards.

Upcoming Training

A webinar providing an overview of the PCS standards will be delivered by Mary Cesare-Murphy on behalf of COA on December 17 at 1:30 PM. Register for this training.

Additional Questions?

Questions regarding the PCS standards can be directed to Stephanie Pacinella, COA's Director of Standards Development.


Private Organization Accreditation

One Hope United offers a range of services aimed at our mission of "Protecting children and strengthening families" including early childhood education, early intervention and prevention, family preservation, foster care, residential, and adoption.


Judy Kay, LCSW

Volunteer Roles: Peer Reviewer; Team Leader

In administration for 22 of 24 years at Child Saving Institute, a COA-accredited not-for-profit child welfare agency in Omaha, Nebraska. Retired approximately two years ago, I moved to Tucson, Arizona, where I advocate for children's rights as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer to three young children.
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