YARMOUTH, Maine--Providers who have waited until the last minute to seek accreditation by the Sept. 30 deadline have their work cut out.
“Our door is still open but the clock is ticking,” said Sandra Canally, president of the Compliance Team. “Whoever signs up at this point needs to do as the accreditor says and do it quickly. There’s no time for discussion.”
CMS had set a soft application deadline of Jan. 31 to ensure that providers had enough time to complete the process. The agency warned that anyone who began the process after that had no guarantee of meeting the deadline.
Some of those providers who waited are getting worried, said Margherita Labson, executive director of the homecare program for JCAHO.
“We are getting calls from providers who tell us their (accrediting organization) may not be able to get them done in time, and they want to know if we can pick them up,” she said. “The answer is no. We have all hands on board and it would not be fair to our (current) customers to bump them.”
Labson encouraged providers who find themselves in this situation to try and work out a plan with their accreditors.
ACHC, which schedules surveys on a first-come, first serve basis, reports that some providers have not been prepared for their surveys.
“It’s not something you get ready for in a week,” said Matt Hughes, accreditation and business relations manager. “We try and give you all the tools and instructions upfront and tell you what to expect, but we are finding folks aren’t reading the manuals or aren’t as prepared as we had hoped.”
Despite all the hassles of dealing with Medicare - including accreditation - there are still plenty of people who want to get into the business, accreditors say.
“We have a lot of brand new suppliers who have to be accredited,” said Mary Nicholas, executive director of HQAA. “It’s a huge sacrifice for these folks, putting a brand-new operation in place.”