CMS issued a survey and certification letter, dated April 16, 2017, announcing their intention to publish proposed changes on April 28, 2017 that will require accreditation organizations (“AOs”) (i.e., TJC, DNV, HFAP and CIHQ) to post provider/supplier survey reports and plans of corrections from CMS-approved accreditation programs on their website. CMS is also proposing to change how the public is notified when Ambulatory Surgical Centers (“ASCs”), Federally Qualified Health Centers (“FQHCs”), Rural Health Clinics (“RHCs”) and Organ Procurement Organizations (“OPOs”) are scheduled to be terminated from the Medicare program. CMS states that these proposals will increase accountability and transparency to the Medicare beneficiaries and to the public. Those wishing to provide comments regarding these two important changes need to do so during the public comment period, which is from April 28 to June 13, 2017. Federal Register.

AO Increased Transparency

Currently CMS makes survey reports and plans of correction available to the public from the CMS Regional Offices and from the State Survey Agencies. CMS approved AOs are presently not required to make their survey reports and plans of correction available to the public. In an effort to improve transparency to the public regarding patient access to quality health information and safety, the proposed regulation will require AOs to post all survey reports and acceptable plans of correction from their CMS-approved accreditation programs on their websites. CMS states access to survey reports and plans of correction “will enable health care consumers, in addition to Medicare beneficiaries, to make a more informed decision regarding where to receive health care thus encouraging health care providers to improve the quality of care and services they provide.”

Changes in Medicare Termination Notices

Currently, the public is notified of a Medicare termination of ASCs, FQHCs, RHCs and OPOs in one or more local newspapers. CMS states that means of notification is outdated and intends to eliminate posting termination notices in the newspaper and provide more options of such notice to the public in a manner such that it would “reach the maximum number of people in the community.”