The CMS proposed on Tuesday a rule that would give the agency earlier notice of a potential sale or merger of an accrediting organization.
Currently the CMS doesn't require an accrediting organization to notify the agency in advance of any change in ownership. According to the CMS, the agency normally is first notified when the organization, under the new leadership, applies for renewal of its agreement with the CMS to get deeming authority to monitor hospitals and other facilities.
The CMS would also require prospective new owners to submit documentation confirming the ability of the organization changing ownership to perform the required accreditation tasks after the change takes place, the agency said in a release.
The CMS would not be able to directly impede the actual sale of the organization but the rule instead gives the CMS "the ability to approve or deny the accreditation programs that are to be transferred as part of the sale or transfer," the agency said.
The release of the rule comes after the CMS issued a request for information in December seeking comments on the financial relationships between hospitals and the accrediting organizations that monitor them.
The agency has sought to improve transparency of accrediting organizations since last fall after an investigation from the Wall Street Journal found that problematic facilities were able to keep their accreditation status. The Journal's investigation found that only 1% of the facilities that lost compliance with the Joint Commission in 2014 lost their status.
The Joint Commission said that it is reviewing the rule. The organization accredits nearly 80% of U.S. hospitals.