Frequently Asked Questions
What is the PHA-Accredited PH Care Centers (PHCC) initiative?
The PHCC program is an initiative of the PHA Scientific Leadership Council that began in late 2011 with the goal of developing an accreditation program for pulmonary hypertension (PH) Centers in the United States. Accreditation, in broad terms, will be based on a Center’s overall commitment to PH patients, breadth of health care professionals involved and scope of services provided. Two types of centers will be accredited: Centers of Comprehensive Care (CCC) and Regional Clinical Programs (RCP). Both accredited CCCs and RCPs will have demonstrated a commitment to providing expert-level care based on published consensus guidelines.
What will differentiate Centers of Comprehensive Care (CCC) from Regional Clinical Programs (RCP)?
Centers of Comprehensive Care
A PHA-Accredited Center of Comprehensive Care is a highly organized, full-time PH Center that proficiently evaluates PH patients based on published evidence-based guidelines and also provides expert treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) patients with all of the FDA-approved therapies. CCCs also make important contributions to PH research and education.
Regional Clinical Programs
A PHA-Accredited Regional Clinical Program is a regional PH Center that proficiently evaluates PH patients based on published evidence-based guidelines and also provides expert treatment of PAH patients with all non-parenteral therapies. An RCP must collaborate with its regional CCCs by referring patients that may benefit from opportunities unavailable at the RCP, including the initiation of advanced parenteral therapies and participation in clinical research protocols.
Why accredit PH programs?
PHCC accreditation signifies that a PH program satisfies a set of criteria established by the PHA Scientific Leadership Council. These criteria have been developed with input from many PH stakeholders including physicians, allied health care professionals, PHA leadership and patients, and are considered important for a program to deliver high-quality care. An accredited center will have demonstrated its ability to properly diagnose and the capacity to appropriately manage these complex patients. Accreditation will ultimately improve awareness among professionals and patients about where to seek high-quality care, a key element in improving access to care.
When will centers be accredited?
The full accreditation criteria will be made available in the last quarter of 2013. PHA expects to launch the PHCC program in the first half of 2014 with a call for (online) applications from prospective CCCs. RCP accreditation is expected to follow one to two years later. A more complete timeline for the accreditation process is in development, but this initial accreditation process is anticipated to take three to four years.
What is the application process to become a PHA-Accredited PH Care Center?
The application process will consist of a comprehensive electronic application to be completed by the PH program director. The application will demonstrate the program’s infrastructure and resources for meeting five categories of criteria: director, coordinator, program staff and support services, facility and research. An initial application fee will need to be paid by the candidate Center.
After submission of the electronic application, PHA staff will review the application for completeness. The Review Committee will the assess the site's eligibility for a site visit. In order to help offset some of the costs of conducting a visit, a site visit fee will be due. PHA staff will coordinate the one day visit, which will be conducted by two PH experts: one physician and one non-physician program coordinator. The site visit will confirm the information provided in the application and affirm the Center’s commitment to PH. Findings from the site visit will be discussed with the entire Review Committee at one of their regularly scheduled meetings. The final accreditation determination will then be made by the Review Committee and communicated to the site.
For more information, please visit the Application Process page.
How long will a Center's accreditation last?
The accreditation cycle is three years and accreditated centers will undergo reaccreditation, which will require a follow-up site visit, towards the end of the cycle. In order to help offset some of the costs of conducting a site visit, a re-accreditation fee will also be applied.
Are adult and pediatric PAH programs analyzed on the same criteria?
The PHA Scientific Leadership Council is sensitive to differences between adult and pediatric PH Centers. A task force of pediatric PH experts is analyzing the PHCC structure and criteria and recommending necessary changes for the appropriate evaluation and accreditation of pediatric sites.
Is the PHCC initiative focused exclusively on PAH?
PHCC accreditation criteria requires Centers to proficiently evaluate all PH patients and correctly differentiate Group 1 (PAH) from other forms of PH, based on standards of care, published diagnostic algorithms and consensus guidelines. Accredited centers must also demonstrate expertise in managing PAH patients with targeted therapies. In addition, recognition and management of Group 4 (CTEPH) cases, per published consensus guidelines, is expected of accredited Centers.