July 23, 2008 | | Comments 0
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Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act

I just wanted to update you on a news brief I posted to the group a few weeks back. Congress overruled yesterday President Bush’s veto of the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act, based on a bill authored by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.).

While the primary focus of the bill is to improve several key aspects of Medicare, for those of us working in the area of accreditation, under the category of “Enhancements for Rural and Other Hospital Care,” note this short passage:

Revokes unique authority of the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations to deem hospitals in compliance with Medicare Conditions of Participation.

There will be a 24-month transition period for The Joint Commission to complete the application process for deeming authority, and “the amendments made by this section shall not effect the accreditation of a hospital by the Joint Commission, or under accreditation or comparable approval standards found to be essentially equivalent to accreditation or approval standards of the Joint Commission, for the period of time applicable under such accreditation.”

Additional information can be found online here: http://finance.senate.gov/sitepages/medicare2008.htm

What are your thoughts? Does this level the playing field for other accrediting organizations? What effect do you think this will have on hospital accreditation, if any?

We have reached out to The Joint Commission and several other organizations for comment; I will be sure to distribute to the group follow-up information as it arises.

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About the Author: Matt Phillion is the director of the Association for Healthcare Accreditation Professionals and a Senior Managing Editor at HCPro, Inc., where he is the editor of the monthly publication Briefings on The Joint Commission.

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