WASHINGTON, DC – Yesterday, the Trump administration announced “increased oversight of organizations that accredit and inspect most U.S. hospitals,” according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. “The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which grants accrediting authority, said it will change the way it measures the performance of accrediting organizations in a pilot project and will provide the public with new information about accreditors’ and hospitals’ performance.”
Earlier this year, Energy and Commerce Committee leaders sent letters to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and four hospital accreditation entities following a series of questions raised in a September 2017 article in The Wall Street Journal about patient safety problems at hospitals. The letter to CMS details that in order to participate in the Medicare program hospitals must meet certain federal standards issued by CMS, otherwise known as the Conditions of Participation (CoPs). Hospitals may demonstrate compliance with the CoPs by obtaining accreditation from an independent, but CMS-approved, Accrediting Organization (AO).
In describing their concerns, the leaders wrote, “Although CMS has worked to strengthen its oversight of AOs, the committee is concerned about the adequacy of CMS’ oversight as well as the rigor of the AO survey process. For example, according to CMS’ most recent annual report to Congress, in FY 2015, AOs conducting hospital surveys did not report 39 percent of ‘condition level’ deficiencies that were subsequently reported following validation surveys conducted by State Survey Agencies no later than 60 days following the AO survey.”
Click HERE to read copies of the letters.
Trump Administration to Step Up Oversight of Hospital Watchdogs
By Stephanie Armour
The Trump administration on Thursday announced increased oversight of organizations that accredit and inspect most U.S. hospitals, following a report last year in The Wall Street Journal focusing on problem-plagued facilities that kept their accreditation status.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which grants accrediting authority, said it will change the way it measures the performance of accrediting organizations in a pilot project and will provide the public with new information about accreditors’ and hospitals’ performance.
A Journal database investigation in 2017 found that the Joint Commission, which accredits almost 80% of U.S. hospitals, typically takes no action to revoke or modify its accreditation when state inspectors find serious safety violations. Hospitals kept their full accreditation even in cases where they had been ousted from the Medicaid program for safety violations.
“Because of that article, we’ve taken a lot of action, and we’re just getting started on the issue,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “We’re trying to bolster our efforts to have oversight and to also have our reviews of [accreditors] transparent.”
Additional federal action is expected in the fall, she said, but that could require new regulations, which can take time to enact. The agency is concerned about potential conflicts of interest in the industry, she said.
The actions are aimed at the nation’s 10 federally approved health-care accreditors, which play a little known but critical role in ensuring patient safety.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee in March launched an investigation into the organizations, following the Journal report. That work is ongoing.
Read the full piece online HERE.