Organizations ramp up operations

Sunday, December 31, 2006

WASHINGTON - Now that it's official, the approved organizations have put their expansion plans into high gear to accommodate the expected onslaught of providers seeking accreditation.
At HQAA, for example, Executive Director Mary Nicholas will hire at least 30 surveyors and 12 "coaches" early this year. Additionally, she doubled her office space to 4,000 square feet in December.
"Even that will only last us a year," she said. "We're already looking at tripling our space."
There are as many as 150,000 Part B providers unaccredited nationwide. Even though that includes everything from pharmacies to hand surgeons, Nicholas estimated that two out of every three HME providers she meets aren't accredited.
Early this year, The Compliance Team also plans to boost its office space--from 1,500 to 4,500 square feet--and its roster of surveyors, said President Sandra Canally.
"We have 16 surveyors right now, and we have half a dozen more waiting in the wings," she said. "Our plan is to have someone in place specifically for each MSA."
Even before CMS's announcement, JCAHO had hired about a dozen additional surveyors, largely due to a 40% increase in initial applications for 2006 vs. 2005. The organization plans to continue hiring surveyors this year, said MaryAnn Popovich, executive director of its homecare accreditation program.
"We've anticipated the increases, but we have an enhanced business plan in place to accommodate any surge in applications," she said.