Accreditation: Time is running out

Friday, October 31, 2008

With the Sept. 30, 2009, mandatory accreditation deadline now less than a year away, accrediting organizations say business is steady, but the applications aren’t exactly flying in.

“There’s definitely been an increase but it’s nowhere near where it needs to be,” said Sandra Canally, president of The Compliance Team.

CMS has recommended that providers have their applications in to accrediting organizations by Jan. 31, 2009, if they want to make sure they meet the September deadline.

That’s not a drop-dead date, but it’s a good guideline, says Bob Floro, director of homecare accreditation for JCAHO.

“If they apply after Jan. 31, CMS’s position is that they cannot guarantee they will be surveyed,” he said. “But if the accreditor can get them surveyed, they will.”

In the next few months, things will pick up, said Mary Nicholas, executive director of HQAA.

“They are going to start waking up,” she said.

With both a 9.5% reimbursement cut and the 36-month oxygen cap set to begin in January, some holdouts could be weighing whether or not to continue billing Medicare.

“Some of them may say accreditation is not worth the cost and dump that revenue stream,” said Tom Cesar, president and CEO of ACHC. “In the long run they will be sad they didn’t.”