Di­vide and con­quer

Am­bu­la­tory group seeks to re­view hos­pi­tals

Modern Healthcare - - THE WEEK IN HEALTHCARE - An­dis Robeznieks

Oddly enough, con­sol­i­da­tion within the health­care in­dus­try is lead­ing one or­ga­ni­za­tion to split into two parts. Due in part to the rise of ac­count­able care or­ga­ni­za­tions as well as con­tin­ued health­care con­sol­i­da­tion, the Skokie, Ill.-based Ac­cred­i­ta­tion As­so­ci­a­tion for Am­bu­la­tory Health Care will be re­struc­tur­ing into two in­de­pen­dent en­ti­ties joined to­gether by an um­brella or­ga­ni­za­tion.

In ad­di­tion, it will be launch­ing a pi­lot pro­gram to ac­credit small hos­pi­tals that will even­tu­ally be­come the main func­tion of the new en­tity that will be known as the Ac­cred­i­ta­tion As­so­ci­a­tion for Hospi­tal/health Sys­tems, and the um­brella or­ga­ni­za­tion that will link the new AAHS with the old AAAHC will be known as the Ac­cred­i­ta­tion As­so­ci­a­tion.

“There will be a lit­tle cross fer­til­iza­tion,” said Dr. Jack Eg­natin­sky, an anes­the­si­ol­o­gist and the im­me­di­ate past chair­man of the AAAHC board, but he added that the two or­ga­ni­za­tions will act and be gov­erned inde- pen­dent of each other.

In a news re­lease, AAAHC Pres­i­dent and CEO John Burke noted that the “move­ment to ac­count­able care or­ga­ni­za­tions and other re­cent trends has led to more health sys­tems re­ab­sorb­ing pri­mary-care physi­cians and free-stand­ing am­bu­la­tory-care set­tings back into the hospi­tal.”

Eg­natin­sky added that in­di­vid­ual fa­cil­i­ties are also ex­pand­ing, which is chang­ing the def­i­ni­tion of what they are. “Over the past sev­eral

ASCS “are ei­ther merg­ing with other ASCS or be­ing bought out or be­ing joint-ven­tured with hos­pi­tals.”

years, many ‘am­bu­la­tory surgery cen­ters’ have be­come ‘sur­gi­cal hos­pi­tals,’ but they have asked us if we would con­tinue be­ing their ac­cred­i­ta­tion or­ga­ni­za­tion,” Eg­natin­sky said.

The am­bu­la­tory surgery cen­ter in­dus­try “is rel­a­tively flat now,” he added. “They are ei­ther merg­ing with other ASCS or be­ing bought out or be­ing join-ven­tured with hos­pi­tals.”

Eg­natin­sky said the re­or­ga­ni­za­tion plan was in the works for two years be­fore it was ap­proved by the AAAHC board in April, and he ex­plained that part of that time was spent con­duct­ing mar­ket re­search that un­cov­ered how “a num­ber of small ru­ral hos­pi­tals are not ac­cred­ited or couldn’t af­ford the cost of the ma­jor ac­cred­it­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions” such as the Joint Com­mis­sion.

“We ex­pect to ini­tially fo­cus on small ru­ral and crit­i­cal-ac­cess hos­pi­tals,” Eg­natin­sky said. “We felt this was a good fit for us.”

He said six small hos­pi­tals have ap­proached them to par­tic­i­pate in the pi­lot, which he said should get started within the next three months and last for three to six months. “We look at this as a very ex­cit­ing ven­ture that there is a need for,” Eg­natin­sky said.

The AAAHC, formed in 1979, marked its 5,000th ac­cred­i­ta­tion this past Novem­ber, and most of its ac­cred­it­ing has been done within the am­bu­la­tory surgery space. But it also ac­cred­its all of the “non-bed­ded” health­care fa­cil­i­ties for the U.S. Air Force and ac­cred­it­ing clin­ics for the Coast Guard and In­dian Health Ser­vice.

“We’re re­ally ex­pand­ing our ac­cred­it­ing pro­grams to in­clude pri­mary care,” Eg­natin­sky said, and this in­cludes ac­cred­it­ing ACOS, man­aged-care or­ga­ni­za­tions and pa­tient­cen­tered med­i­cal homes.

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