Medicare to Review New Hospital Accreditation Program

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TÜV Healthcare Specialists Completes Application for Medicare “Deeming Authority.”

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has begun formal evaluation of the just-completed application by TÜV Healthcare Specialists (TÜVHS) to become the first new accreditation service for U.S. hospitals in 40 years.

If granted full deeming authority in the coming months, TÜVHS will not only accredit hospitals (deem them in compliance with Medicare’s Conditions of Participation) but will introduce the breakthrough management disciplines of ISO 9001 to help reverse declining quality indicators in healthcare.

Each year quality lapses in healthcare delivery exact a staggering financial and human toll. Inefficiency and mistakes cost each American $1,200 to $2,500 every year1; and prescription errors – a preventable lapse in quality control – cause 25,000 deaths annually.2

Responsibility for accrediting hospitals was first conveyed to the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) in 1965. The Joint Commission, a private non-profit organization, today accredits the overwhelming majority of hospitals in the United States.

“Choice and competition are the hallmarks of a free market,” says Rebecca Wise, CEO of TÜVHS. “Can you think of an industry with a more profound impact on our lives than healthcare? Yet there is a much higher chance of you getting the wrong dosage of medicine in a hospital than there is of a manufacturer putting the wrong chip on a circuit board. It’s a failure of the system not the people.”

The escalating burden of meeting regulatory and compliance demands has made it even harder for hospitals to focus on systematic quality improvement.

“Healthcare providers are so inundated with compliance and regulatory obligations that they can’t spare the resources to pursue quality as a separate ‘project.’ Quality management needs to be seamless and self-regulating. That is the advantage of ISO 9001 versus all other quality initiatives,” adds Ms. Wise.

TÜVHS has already begun providing full ISO 9001 implementation to hospitals and medical group practices. Any institution can choose to incorporate the Medicare audit upon approval of TÜVHS’s full deeming authority. In the future, achieving ISO certification will be a precondition of TÜVHS’s Medicare accreditation program.

TÜVHS is a subsidiary of the international quality management and product testing company TÜV America. For more information visit: http://www.tuvhs.com.

1 “First Aid for Health Care,” Quality Digest, December 2003.

2 “Message to Physicians: Better Read than Dead,” Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, October

     25, 2000.

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Peter Greer
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