U.S. Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) has called a 1 p.m. news conference Tuesday to issue results of a government report expected to be critical of the accreditation practices and approach of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. An aide to Stark did not give details but said the report by the Government Accountability Office (formerly the General Accounting Office) will pertain to issues of quality. Also attending the conference will be U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). In January 2003 Stark called on HHS to investigate changes in the JCAHO's accreditation program that he criticized as overly "collegial" and moving further from the thorough scrutiny that should characterize the process of qualifying for Medicare funding. JCAHO-accredited hospitals are automatically considered in compliance with quality-oriented Medicare conditions of participation. The aide said Stark would press for legislation as a follow-up to the GAO report. -- by John Morrissey
Results of GAO report on JCAHO due tomorrow
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