CMS wants to tighten rules on hospital accreditors

CMS is proposing rules that would tighten oversight and accountability of its accrediting organizations, saying it believes not all are issuing accreditation properly during site visits.

The agency noted in a Feb. 8 proposed rule fact sheet that it has noticed inconsistencies in how accrediting organizations conduct visits, including even letting hospitals or health systems know ahead of time about the pending inspection rather than arriving to inspect unannounced. CMS also noted that there have been several instances where accrediting organizations have given approval or passed hospitals even when they've previously been kicked out of the Medicare/Medicaid program for not adhering to safety standards.

The newly proposed rules will ensure more consistency of inspections and accountability of its accrediting organizations and their employees.

"When AOs request and receive CMS approval to determine compliance for facilities they accredit and are deemed by CMS to meet federal requirements, they take on a public trust responsibility in their oversight of providers and suppliers across the country," CMS wrote of the newly proposed rule.

Under the proposed CMS rules, accrediting organizations would need to be held to similar standards as state inspectors, provide additional transparency about any conflicts of interest prior to conducting the inspections and adhere to certain standards. 

There is a 60-day comment period on the rule, which will end April 15.

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