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.”
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 The CMS said it “would be best” if the proposed rule was withdrawn after it considered public comments.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.