CHA News

Changes Proposed for Accrediting Organizations Requirements

What’s happening: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued proposed changes to accrediting organization (AO) requirements.  

What else to know: The proposed changes are intended to strengthen the agency’s oversight of AOs and prevent conflicts of interest. Comments are due to CMS by 2 p.m. (PT) on April 15.  

The proposed rule aims to strengthen oversight, enhance enforcement, increase transparency, ensure health and safety, and reduce provider burden. The proposals include changes to: 

  • Hold AOs accountable to the same standards as state survey agencies (SAs). 
  • Ensure that AOs remain independent reviewers by addressing conflicts of interest and placing certain limitations on the fee-based consulting services that AOs provide to the health care facilities they accredit. 
  • Prevent AO conflicts of interest by prohibiting AO owners, surveyors, and other employees, as well as their immediate family members that have an interest in or relationship with a health care facility accredited by the AO, from participating in surveys, having input in the survey results and involvement in pre- or post-survey activities of that facility, or from having access to survey records related to that facility. 
  • Address potential and actual conflicts of interest by requiring AOs to report specific information to CMS about how they will monitor, prevent, and handle conflicts of interest and fee-based consulting services they provide. 
  • Improve AO performance by requiring AOs with poor performance to submit a publicly reported correction plan to CMS. 
  • Improve consistency and standardization in surveys nationwide by more closely aligning AO survey activity requirements and staff training with those of SAs. 

Details are available in a fact sheet.