CMS with­draws rule man­dat­ing ac­cred­i­tors re­lease in­spec­tion re­ports

The CMS said the rule needed fur­ther “re­view, con­sid­er­a­tion and re­fine­ment” to en­sure it would “in­form pa­tients and con­tinue to sup­port high qual­ity care.”

Modern Healthcare - - NEWS - By Maria Castel­lucci

Providers and pri­vate ac­cred­i­ta­tion or­ga­ni­za­tions suc­cess­fully fought off a pro­posal in­tended to in­crease trans­parency around qual­ity and safety.

The CMS last week with­drew a pro­posed rule that would have forced pri­vate ac­cred­i­ta­tion or­ga­ni­za­tions to pub­licly re­lease their re­ports on health­care fa­cil­i­ties. Hos­pi­tal groups and ac­cred­i­ta­tion or­ga­ni­za­tions railed against the idea, which had sup­port from pa­tient safety ex­perts.

The agency an­nounced the de­ci­sion as part of its in­pa­tient pay rule. The CMS said it “would be best” if the pro­posed rule was with­drawn af­ter it con­sid­ered pub­lic com­ments.

Un­der the pro­posal, ac­cred­i­tors such as the Joint Com­mis­sion would have been re­quired to post sur­vey re­ports and cor­rec­tive ac­tion plans within 90 days af­ter vis­it­ing a health­care or­ga­ni­za­tion. The CMS said the rule needed fur­ther “re­view, con­sid­er­a­tion and re­fine­ment” to en­sure it would “in­form pa­tients and con­tinue to sup­port high qual­ity care.”

The pro­posal, pushed out in April, was an at­tempt by the CMS to im­prove trans­parency in the in­dus­try by help­ing health­care con­sumers make more in­formed de­ci­sions about where they re­ceive care and by en­cour­ag­ing providers “to im­prove the qual­ity of care and ser­vices they pro­vide,” the agency said.

Pri­vate ac­cred­i­ta­tion or­ga­ni­za­tions ar­gued dur­ing the com­ment pe­riod that the rule would only con­fuse con­sumers, tar­nish the can­did re­la­tion­ship they have with providers, and be an ex­pen­sive ad­min­is­tra­tive bur­den.

In its com­ment to the CMS, the Joint Com­mis­sion claimed the rule would cost $3.7 mil­lion in the first year to fol­low, and $2.3 mil­lion in ex­penses for sub­se­quent years be­cause it would have to cre­ate new soft­ware and hire more staff.

The Amer­i­can Hos­pi­tal As­so­ci­a­tion also ques­tioned the rule’s ef­fec­tive­ness. Nancy Fos­ter, vice pres­i­dent of qual­ity and pa­tient safety at the AHA, said in a state­ment that shar­ing de­tailed ac­cred­i­ta­tion re­ports “may not be the most use­ful or ef­fec­tive strat­egy for in­form­ing the pub­lic.”

But pa­tient safety ex­perts ap­plauded the pro­posal, ar­gu­ing ac­cred­i­tors don’t cur­rently do a good job pro­tect­ing pa­tients from harm at fa­cil­i­ties and they should be forced to show how they eval­u­ate providers. Those in fa­vor of the pro­posal also said that trans­parency would en­cour­age providers to im­prove out­comes and safety is­sues be­cause the in­for­ma­tion would be open to the pub­lic.

The CMS vis­its only about 10% of providers, so pri­vate ac­cred­i­tors carry out the lion’s share of fa­cil­ity ac­cred­i­ta­tion vis­its. Congress is cur­rently con­sid­er­ing a bill that would add dial­y­sis cen­ters to the list of fa­cil­i­ties pri­vate ac­cred­i­tors can cer­tify.

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