As you already know, providers must be accredited by Sept. 30 to bill CMS, and the deadline to apply for accreditation already passed on Jan. 31. Given the length of the process, which can last up to several months in some cases, providers must already have their accreditation process underway.
With that said, providers that get accredited gain improved operational efficiencies that will help them save money, and find and leverage new opportunities to serve patients. Here are some ways to get the process moving:
Nominate an accreditation team. Getting accredited requires dedicated time. Nominate an internal champion or create a project team that can create and implement an action plan.
Consider third-party help or reference materials. Accreditation also requires a fair amount of specialized knowledge that you might not retain on-staff. Bringing a consultant on-board can supply expertise. Before hiring a consultant, get referrals from other providers with similar businesses.
Also, you might want to look into purchasing a policies and procedures manual that can be tailored to your business. The manual itself is can cost as much as $2,000 — but it can help outline the requirements to which a provider must adhere.
Also, your accrediting body might provide comprehensive preparation assistance, thus removing the need to hire a consultant. Consider that service when reviewing accrediting bodies and the total cost of the process.
Know the cost. Accreditation can cost several thousand dollars. A good estimate is $3,000 to $5,000, according to experts, but it depends on the accreditation fees and the cost of additional help or resources.
Know the time involved. Accreditation time varies based on the provider’s scope and scale of business, as well as the complexity of the policies and procedures it must integrate. Be realistic, as the process could last four to six months. Also, investigate whether your accrediting body offers any “accelerated tracks” to help you more quickly achieve compliance.
Educate your staff. Ensure your staff buys-in to the accreditation andwill help implement each policy and procedure. All involved staff must be trained in the new procedures and processes, and understand what they are doing and why. Moreover, document that all staff have been trained.
Understand site surveys. Once a provider tells the accrediting body it is ready for a site survey, a surveyor will come unannounced to ensure the business is compliant. The review will be thorough, but not necessarily grueling. While a “surprise” survey might seem daunting, if a provider has properly prepared for accreditation, the site survey might actually come as a welcome confirmation of all your hard work.
An ongoing process. Remember that accreditation is not a one-time exercise — it is a process that continues for the life of the provider’s accreditation. Accrediting bodies will require follow-ups in varying frequencies, depending on the provider and the accrediting body. View your relationship with the accrediting body as a partnership in helping to increase efficiency and deliver quality service to
Accreditation Commission for Health Care Inc.
American Board for Certification in Orthotics and Prosthetics Inc.
Board of Certification in Pedorthics
Board for Orthotist/Prosthetist Certification
Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities
Community Health Accreditation Program
The Compliance Team Inc.
Healthcare Quality Association on Accreditation
Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations
National Association of Boards of Pharmacy
National Board of Accreditation for Orthotic Suppliers
Points to take away:
• Select an accrediting body.
• Nominate a team or person to handle the process.
• Consider third-party consulting or manuals.
• Know the cost and time involved.
• Get the staff on-board and trained in new procedures.
• Be ready for your site survey and know that accreditation is an ongoing process.