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Ask the Consultants

   
 
Q: Do we still need to get our business accredited now that competitive bidding has been delayed?
   
A:
Yes. The CMS accreditation mandate is a separate portion of the law passed by congress in 2003, and is not tied to competitive bidding, legislatively. While providers had to be accredited prior to submitting a bid to the CBA program, ALL providers have had and still have a deadline of October 1st 2009 to complete the accreditation requirement. Providers that fail to do so will be denied reimbursement on all claims billed to Medicare.

Providers should keep in mind that there is a typically a several month gap between the time of applying for an accreditation survey, having the survey completed, and receiving the accreditation certificate from the accrediting body. Providers must have the certificate in hand by the deadline. This means most providers should be ready for survey by July or August of 2009, at the latest. Otherwise they may not complete the accreditation process in time for the deadline.

   
Q: What are the basic things things I need to do to successfully prepare for an accreditation survey?
   
A:
There are many critical tasks to be accomplished in order to have a successful accreditation survey. The focus is on processes that have the greatest impact on quality of patient care, but those processes span across almost every aspect of your business. It's also important to note that running an accredited company is a way of doing business rather than a one time project that is completed once the initial accreditation survey is over.

Download a PDF version of our Accreditation 101 presentation to learn more about the basics of an accreditation survey. 

   
Q: How long will it take me to successfully prepare for an accreditation survey?
   
A: Many providers with no background in accreditation want to know how difficult the process is, and the simple answer is that it depends on multiple factors such as your current business practices, your ability to read the standards and assess how they can be applied in a practical manner to your business, and what resources you are willing to invest to simplify the process.

A large consideration that every business owner needs to start thinking about soon is the amount of time it will take for your organization to come into compliance with accreditation standards. Waiting too long to get started will result in undue stress on your employees, and disrupt business practices to the point of negatively impacting profit margins and cash flow.

A full-service provider should plan on beginning preparation at least 8 to 12 months prior to the deadline they are seeking to meet—if they devote 4 to 6 hours per week on the preparation. Providers that have multiple locations will need closer to 12 to 18 months at the same pace to implement accreditation standards throughout their business.

   
Q: What's the value of retaining a consulting company to assist me?
   
A: Experienced consulting assistance can all ease the learning curve and help you get it right the first time. It is simply not realistic to think your employees will be able to drop their regular duties to focus on accreditation preparation at the last minute. Competent consulting assistance can decrease the preparation time by as much as half, because the focus can then shift from the development of policies, processes, and procedures, to the implementation of tried and true processes.
   

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