Accreditation: Sizing up options

Monday, October 31, 2005

YARMOUTH, Maine - Accreditation organizations have compared their programs with Medicare's draft quality standards released in late September, and they have good and bad news for HME providers.
The good news: The business quality standards outlined in the first section of the draft should be nothing new to accredited providers, with the exception of the financial management requirements. The bad news: The product specific service requirements outlined in the second section are dramatically more detailed than what's already on the books, which could result in a more lengthy and costly accreditation process.
"It may mean additional time onsite with surveyors, if CMS wants us to be really looking at specifics like how to take care of a bed pan," said Tom Cesar, president of the Accreditation Commission for Health Care.
Accrediting organizations agree that they cover product service specific requirements, especially as they relate to maintenance, but not to the same degree. Parts of the draft read like a procedural manual for medical equipment, said Sandra Canally, president of the Compliance Team.
"You want to give the manufacturer room to change models, and you want to give providers room to implement standards based on how they do business," she said.
The financial management component may be another case of CMS not seeing the forest for the trees, industry sources said.
"We do require an operating budget, and invoices and receipts," said MaryAnn Popovich, executive director of the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Health Care Organizations. "But we don't require the specificity of balance sheets and statements of changes in net position."