CMS withdraws rules it hoped would increase transparency
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) decided it will not require accreditors to publish hospital and home health agency (HHA) inspection reports for public viewing after private accreditors and providers pushed back against the proposed rules.
The proposals were one of many rules that CMS attempted to install in an effort to be more transparent with patients. The controversial accreditation rules mandated that hospital or HHA accrediting organizations release information on errors and mishaps that occur at practices and the steps being taken to correct them.
CMS ultimately decided that federal law prohibits the agency from disclosing the results of inspections performed by accrediting organizations.
Home health agencies and hospitals that receive Medicare dollars are required to meet federal regulations, but can outsource inspection services to private companies. Almost nine in 10 hospitals are inspected by accreditors, in place of the government, according to ProPublica.
CMS publishes audits of health plans, rating providers on a variety of metrics, like access to care and quality. The two rescinded proposals were introduced in response to government concerns that private accreditors weren’t reporting serious violations at hospitals.
A report by ProPublica found that 99 percent of hospitals overseen by accreditation firms received full accreditation marks, with only eight hospitals at risk of losing their approval. The rules was intended to persuade healthcare providers and accreditors to stay in compliance with federal regulation.
Advocates for the rules, including the Medicare Payment Advisory Board, said that patients should be able to access information regarding hospital quality, while opponents argued that the rules would decrease quality care and patient safety.
CMS pulled the proposals after major blowback from private accreditors, with some companies like the Joint Commission citing potential multi-million dollar losses as a result of its implementation.
Read more in ProPublica
Read more in Modern Healthcare
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