This article was first published in the New York State Bar Association’s Health Law Journal, Vol. 17, No. 3 (Summer/Fall 2012).
Due to the sensitive nature of the industry it services, the American hospital must rightfully operate under copious federal and state regulations, in addition to volumes of rules and ordinances established by separate, non-governmental entities. Though policing policies such as accreditation, certification and periodic review come from a variety of both public and private sources, the goal is generally consistent: develop uniform standards to ensure that hospitals in the U.S. operate at an acceptable safety level while delivering quality patient care.
The Many Paths to Accreditation
Though its primary function is without question the delivery of accurate and effective medical treatment, health care is also big business. In an attempt to promote constant vigilance among America’s hospitals, any one institution may be subject to accreditation review at any time from private, non-governmental organizations such as the Joint Commission, the Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (HFAP), Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC), Community Health Accreditation Program (CHAP), the Compliance Team, Inc., Healthcare Quality Association on Accreditation (HQAA), or DNV Healthcare, Inc. (DNV), among others.
By and large, each private entity governs through its own set of rules. For example, the Joint Commission surveys hospitals by following more than 276 standards and reviewing 1,612 elements of performance. HFAP does largely the same thing pursuant to its 1,100 or more individual standards. Focusing on home medical equipment as well as durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies (“DMEPOS”), HQAA has developed a review process consistent with federal standards. … Read more →