On February 2, 2011, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published a proposed rule in the Federal Register that would require most providers and suppliers participating in the Medicare program to give all Medicare beneficiaries written notice about their right to contact a Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) concerning the quality of care that they receive and to provide contact information for the local QIO. Under current rules, CMS only requires that Medicare beneficiaries receiving inpatient hospital services be informed of their right to contact the QIO concerning their quality of care. The new notice requirement would apply to the following types of providers and suppliers:

  • Ambulatory surgical centers
  • Hospices
  • Hospitals
  • Long term care facilities (LTCs)
  • Home health agencies (HHAs)
  • Comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation facilities (CORFs)
  • Critical access hospitals (CAHs)
  • Clinics and rehabilitation agencies
  • Portable x-ray services
  • Rural health clinics (RHCs) and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs)

In addition to notifying Medicare beneficiaries of their right to contact the QIO, the proposed rule would also require the following types of providers and suppliers to furnish contact information to patients on how to contact the State survey agency: hospices, hospitals, CORFs, CAHs, clinics and rehabilitation agencies, portable x-ray services, RHCs and FQHCs. Comments on the proposed rule must be received by CMS no later than 5:00 on April 4, 2011. The full text of the proposed rule is available by clicking here.