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CMS rule would force more transparency by private hospital accreditors


The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has published a draft rule meant to   increase transparency and address critical patient-safety issues at hospitals. The proposed rule would require private hospital accreditation organizations to publicly release details about problems found in hospital inspections. The problems and the steps that the facilities would need to take to address them would have to be posted within 90 days of a report to the facility.

Rita E. Numerof, Ph.D.,  president of Numerof & Associates, a  healthcare sector consultancy writes:  “Healthcare consumers have a right to this information. Almost 90% of hospitals are overseen by private accreditors—not directly by government regulators. And medical errors remain a leading cause of death and injuries in U.S. hospitals, with estimates starting at nearly 100,000 people a year dying due to such mistakes.”

She adds:

“Each year, CMS does its own inspection of healthcare facilities to validate the work of the private accreditation organizations. The agency has reported that state inspectors frequently found ‘serious deficiencies’ that were not reported by private reviewers. In the agency’s language: ‘This continued trend of high disparity rates from FY 2012 to FY 2015 raises serious concerns regarding the [accrediting organizations’] ability to appropriately identify and cite health and safety deficiencies during the survey process.’

“For more than a decade, industry executives from leading facilities have acknowledged behind closed doors that they know their organizations are unsafe. But they have not taken the actions required to fix the issues—largely because they haven’t felt pressure from CMS or the market to do so. This kind of transparency is likely to change that.”

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