The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today issued a final rule on oversight of CMS-approved accreditation programs. The final rule amends the regulations for how national Accrediting Organizations apply for and maintain accreditation programs through which health care providers may be deemed to meet Medicare requirements. In response to comments received on the proposed rule, CMS said it will not change the regulatory framework to embrace the concept of public-private partnerships between the agency and AOs, because it does not believe statutory requirements either envision or allow for such partnerships. Among other changes, the final rule adds a provision requiring AOs to provide documentation demonstrating the comparability of their survey process and surveyor guidance to those required for state Survey Agencies. However, CMS said it must review survey procedure comparability under current regulations, and “it has been our practice to allow both SAs and AOs flexibility in determining the size and composition of their survey teams and the duration of their surveys.” The rule takes effect 60 days after publication in tomorrow’s Federal Register.