CMS shouldn't rely on accreditation surveys for hospice quality, report says

Accreditation surveys are not a guarantee that hospice providers are meeting federal or state requirements, according to a new report from the Office of the Inspector General.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services should not just rely on the surveys, the OIG warned. The report examined The Community Hospice Inc., a New York provider that used the CMS-approved Community Health Accreditation Program. The Social Security Act includes guidelines that exempt hospices from state health department quality surveys if they are accredited by a CMS-approved national accreditation organization.

But the OIG's review of 100 Community employees who provide direct patient care found that half of the employees didn't meet at least one federal or state requirement. These requirements include criminal background checks, health assessments, professional licensing and experience, training and performance evaluations. Based on statistical sampling, this means it's likely 194 of Community's 400 total workforce were not in compliance with federal and state requirements, the OIG said.

In their report, OIG recommended, and CMS agreed, that Community employees needed to comply with the requirements. Click to read the OIG's full report and the CMS response here.