The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has opted to extend the comment period for the somewhat controversial proposed rule that would have imposed additional requirements and focused significant scrutiny on accreditation organizations that confer “deemed” status to health care organizations (including The Joint Commission).  For more information, click here.  The proposed rule, published April 5, 2013, was designed to “clarify and strengthen” CMS’s oversight of accreditation organizations, among other functions; however, the proposed rule raised concerns in the provider community that more draconian CMS oversight and restrictive requirements could upend an already complicated accreditation and deeming environment, and affect providers through enforcement of the Conditions of Participation for Hospitals (CoPs) to the exception of accreditation standards, which in some cases are seen by providers as more up-to-date and relevant to the modern environment with a focus on patient safety and quality of care than CoPs.  Several providers and provider groups, as well as state hospital associations, have already provided comments critical of the proposed rule, identifying these and other concerns. 

The extension of the comment period through July 5, 2013, effectively extends the process that would otherwise lead to implementation of the proposed rule, and could signal that CMS is considering the extent of the proposed rule in light of the comments received to date.