CMS appoints Joint Commission with accreditation power

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The Joint Commission has been designated as one of the accreditation bodies of advanced diagnostic imaging centers by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), according to an announcement which appeared in the Federal Register on Jan. 26.

To qualify for Medicare reimbursement payments, Medicare suppliers that provide the technical component of diagnostic imaging services must become accredited by a CMS-designated accrediting organization by Jan. 1, 2012.

The new accreditation rule--which is part of the Medicare Improvement for Patients and Providers Act of 2008--is based on the findings of a 2005 Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) report that stated diagnostic imaging services paid under Medicare’s physician fee schedule grew at approximately double the rate of all other physician services.

The requirement is expected to affect more than 7,000 healthcare organizations that utilize diagnostic imaging services, said the CMS.

An accreditor of imaging services since 1975, the Joint Commission’s standards for advanced diagnostic imaging will include:

  • Qualifications of medical personnel and medical directors;
  • Performance specifications for imaging equipment; and
  • Quality assurance and quality control programs to ensure the safety, reliability, clarity and accuracy of diagnostic imaging.