HHS inspector generals office will review the extent and adequacy of the governments policies on the Joint Commissions accreditation of hospitals, according to a blueprint published of what the staff plans to accomplish in fiscal 2008.
The Joint Commission study, expected to yield a report in 2009, is among several new areas of interest identified in the 111-page document. The document notes a 2004 change in the accreditation process allowing hospitals to evaluate themselves, but a spokesman for the office declined to explain what triggered the review.
Other new areas that the office plans to examine include Medicares steadily rising burden of disproportionate-share payments; whether figures reported by facilities as Medicare bad debt met the criteria; the appropriateness of payments for X-rays and interpretations in emergency departments; services and billing patterns in geographic areas with high densities of independent diagnostic facilities; HHS revised payment methodology for ambulatory surgery centers; and whether quality-improvement organizations, or QIOs, are meeting their contractual obligations. -- by Gregg Blesch
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