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Providers, AOs reach symbiosis 

Providers, AOs reach symbiosis  ‘I’ve found more responsiveness to accreditation now than ever before’ 

Tim SafleyCARY, N.C. – Infection control and safety was flagged as an area for improvement in a recent review of accreditation surveys by the Accreditation Commission for Health Care, but by and large, providers have a handle on standards, says Tim Safley. 

More importantly, providers and accrediting organizations have achieved a kind of symbiosis these days, says Safley, program director for DMEPOS and Sleep Accreditation for ACHC. 

“I’ve found more responsiveness to accreditation now than ever before,” he said. “Unfortunately, back when CMS first mandated it, (many providers didn’t like it).”  

ACHC recently released its latest Quality Review Edition of The Surveyor, which includes survey findings and frequently cited deficiencies, along with tips for compliance. Safley spoke with HME News recently about the current state of accreditation as he sees it. 

The approach  

While it’s unlikely a provider will ever get excited about an accreditation survey, Safley does hope they see him as more of a helpful partner. 

“They appreciate our visits and that sounds really weird, but we're going at it with the approach of, ‘Let us help you improve,’” he said. “If accreditation is done right, they use us as a resource to help them improve and that's what accreditation should be about.” 

The COVID effect 

While infection control is a key area of improvement, providers are far more aware of its importance these days, says Safley. 

“They don't (want to) worry about spreading the COVID virus or any of viruses that are out there today, like RSV, which is growing,” he said. “They're a lot more aware of this and the needs for precautions in the home.” 

The standards 

ACHC is currently in the process of updating its standards for the better, says Safley. 

“We want to make them simpler to read,” he said. “Sometimes you get standards out there that are so complicated to read. If you want providers to put a bag over something, let’s say, ‘Put a bag over the item.’ Instead of them guessing (what we mean), let's walk them through exactly what we're asking for to where they can create their own standards for, say, infection control. Let's lead them with the gold standard of what it should be.” 


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