CMS wants to make accrediting organization surveys public

CMS may require national accrediting organizations to make provider and supplier survey reports and plans of corrections available online.

Right now, accrediting bodies like the Joint Commission do not make their survey findings publicly available, but CMS does.

The agency included the proposal in its 2018 Medicare Inpatient Prospective Payment System proposed rule released Friday.

"Access to survey reports and PoCs will enable healthcare consumers, in addition to Medicare beneficiaries, to make a more informed decision regarding where to receive healthcare thus encouraging healthcare providers to improve the quality of care and services they provide," according to CMS' fact sheet on its IPPS proposed rule.

Additionally, CMS expressed concerns about accrediting bodies' capabilities to identify and cite safety deficiencies in their surveys. According to a ProPublica report, state officials visited 103 hospitals in 2014 that had been reviewed by an accrediting organization in the prior 60 days. State officials found 41 serious deficiencies during those visits, but the accrediting organization missed 39 of them.

The Joint Commission told ProPublica it is reviewing CMS' proposal and declined to comment further.

Nancy Foster, the American Hospital Association's vice president of quality and patient safety told ProPublica AHA supports transparency but the organization is "concerned that sharing a detailed report may not be the most useful or effective strategy for informing the public." She instead advocated for a shorter "accurate summary" of inspection reports to be made public.

CMS' rule will be published in the Federal Register April 28, and comments will be accepted through June 13.

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