URAC is a Washington DC-based non-profit organization that helps promote health care quality through the accreditation of organizations involved in medical care services, as well as by offering education and measurement programs. Founded under the name Utilization Review Accreditation Commission in 1990, the name "was shortened to the acronym URAC in 1996 when it began accrediting other types of organizations such as health plans, pharmacies, and provider organizations".
URAC accreditation is given to an organization for a period of up to three years. An organization must go through a review again after this period expires in order to maintain their accredited status.
It is noted that "he amount of time it takes for an organization to prepare an application... may vary depending on whether the appropriate work processes, policies, and procedures are in place" and "the type of accreditation you are seeking". The website states that it "usually takes four to six months to complete an accreditation review once URAC receives your completed application".
Accreditation standards for URAC programs are developed by independent experts, relying on advisory committees of experts in health care delivery. After internal discussion, the organization makes them available for public comment, refines them further based on comments, then passes them to URAC's independent advisory group for approval. URAC's board of directors gives final approval of accreditation standards. Typically these standards are updated every three years, so as to stay up to date with changes in the health care field.