Consumers may soon have access to a new pool of data when shopping for a healthcare provider. The CMS is in the final stages of collecting comments on a proposed rule that would require accreditation organizations to publicly release reports on healthcare facilities they audit.
The proposal has come under heavy scrutiny and opposition from private accreditation organizations such as the Joint Commission and from provider groups, who allege that the information will do more to confuse consumers than help them make smart decisions.
"When we do a survey of a facility, it focuses on deficiencies that are found at a fixed point in time," said Barb Sylvester, director of regulatory affairs and quality at the Accreditation Commission for Health Care, a not-for-profit that accredits about 15,700 providers, mostly in the hospice and home health arenas.
The ACHC accredits facilities once every three years and is on the lookout only for areas where the provider has failed to follow regulatory standards of care. The ACHC then works with the providers to help them outline and approve a corrective action plan.
The reports would only show consumers an organization's weaknesses, Sylvester said. They don't emphasize patient outcomes, which are more helpful metrics for those shopping for the best providers, she added.