Frequently Asked Questions
About the PHCC Initiative
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.
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 have been made available since late 2013 and are viewable here. PHA launched the PHCC program in July 2014 with a call for online applications from prospective CCCs. It should be noted that RCP applications will not be accepted until late 2016. A more complete timeline for the accreditation process is in development, but this initial accreditation process is anticipated to take three to four years.
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.
Types of PH Care Centers
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.
Are adult and pediatric PH 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.
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 then assess the site's eligibility for a site visit. 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.
Through feedback from applicant centers, the application process (from application preparation and submission to onsite review) has been estimated to take approximately 8-12 weeks.
For more information, please visit the Application Process page.
How long will a Center's accreditation last?
The accreditation cycle is three years and accredited 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.
Do articles in Advances in PH count towards the criterion for peer-reviewed publications?
No, articles in Advances in Pulmonary Hypertension: Official Journal of the Pulmonary Hypertension Association do not count towards the criterion* for at least one article in a peer-reviewed publication. Its mission is to help physicians in their clinical decision making by informing them of important trends affecting their practice and providing an analysis of the impact of new findings and current information in peer-reviewed literature. Most articles are invited, reviewed and approved by members of the Editorial Advisory Board.
*PHCC Criteria - Research Section 5.5: Center staff must have published at least one PH-related publication within the last 5 years in a peer-reviewed journal in the field of pulmonary vascular disease.
Cost of Accreditation
How much does accreditation by the PH Care Centers initiative cost?
The cost of accreditation by the PH Care Centers initiative as a Center of Comprehensive Care is $15,000 over the course of the three-year accreditation cycle while the cost of accreditation as a Regional Clinical Program is $13,000 for the three-year accreditation cycle.
|Site Review Fee
|CCC Annual Fee
|RCP Annual Fee
|CCC Annual Fee
|RCP Annual Fee
How did the PHCC initiative arrive at the 3-year, $15,000 accreditation fee structure?
The PHCC Oversight Committee held numerous meetings and conference calls discussing the level of fees to assess. The committee compiled an annualized analysis of fees required for many programs accredited by organizations such as The Joint Commission on Accreditation and compared these programs and the disease states assessed to PHCC. The PHCC program expenses include, but are not limited to, site visits and travel, PHA staff and PHCC meetings, as well as marketing and communications. The $2,000 annual fee is part of the fee structure for the $15,000 3-year cycle and is intended to break up the cost of accreditation over 3 years, as opposed to paying the total of $15,000 within the first year (although programs do have this option). It was important to the committee to be fair and ensure the fee structure would fully sustain the program. PH is recognized as an "advanced" disease; thus, the committee recommended a $15,000, 3-year cycle fee schedule to the PHA Board of Trustees.
For any additional inquiries, comments or concerns please email PHCC@PHAssociation.org.
Last Updated: September 1, 2015