ACHC to unveil rehab manual

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Monday, September 30, 2002

RALEIGH, N.C. - Rehabilitation technology suppliers wanted standards for accreditation to differentiate them from HMEs, and the Accreditation Commission for Home Care (ACHC) delivered with rehab-specific standards in its HME accreditation manual. Now, just a little over two years later, ACHC has split the standards out in a stand-alone manual that it will introduce at Medtrade this October.

In addition to peer review, the new accreditation manual has undergone a crosswalk to compare ACHC's standards of practice with those of RAP 2000 and NRRTS, said Thomas Cesar, the president and CEO of ACHC.

"As far as I know, JCAHO and CHAP still don't have completely stand-alone standards for rehab," Cesar noted. "But that's what the rehab industry wanted. Probably the others will develop similar stand-alone products in the coming year or so."

ACHC had been invited along with other accrediting bodies to submit a proposal for a set of rehab accreditation program standards to the Re/hab and Assistive Technology Council (RATC) of the American Association for Homecare, but decided against participating.

"The bid package specified that AAHomecare would own the standard if they chose it," Cesar pointed out. "Theoretically, AAHomecare could decide that they wanted to do accreditation, and administer the standards themselves instead of us. That's obviously not a position we were prepared to put ourselves in."

Currently, AAHomecare seems to have no plans to accredit rehab providers, but some are wary that a glut of accrediting bodies is on the way.

"My biggest fear is that next thing you know you're going to have all these accreditation companies in to accredit everybody," said one manufacturer's rep. "I figure that JCAHO would do it too. There's money."

Cesar maintained that such competition is healthy, forcing accrediting bodies to keep fees reasonable and quality high.

And quality is key, said Gary Gilberti, president of Chesapeake Rehab Equipment in Baltimore.

"We need to really raise the bar and make sure that there are standards of practice in place and the right people are doing this kind of work," Gilberti said. "So, we need to have programs out there." HME

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