WASHINGTON, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee leaders recently 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 letters were signed by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Gregg Harper (R-MS), and Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX).
“…the Committee on Energy and Commerce is conducting oversight to ensure that patient safety is being provided for, and that federal standards are being adhered to, in hospitals participating in the Medicare and Medicaid programs,” wrote Walden, Harper, and Burgess in the letter to CMS. “Under the Social Security Act, as amended, hospitals participating in the Medicare program are required to meet certain minimum requirements specified in the statute as well as any supplemental requirements that are established by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to protect the public health, otherwise known as the Conditions of Participation (CoPs).”
The letter to CMS details that CoPs are issued by CMS and that the State Survey Agencies are able to act on behalf of CMS to perform the Medicare certification process and ensure compliance with the CoPs. Hospitals are also able to 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.