The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services seeks stakeholder input on the potential for actual or perceived conflicts of interest when Medicare-approved accrediting organizations offer fee-based consulting services to the Medicare-participating providers and suppliers they accredit. The agency said the information will help it determine whether future rulemaking, guidance or changes to the Medicare AO application and renewal process are needed. “We are concerned that the practice of offering both accrediting and consulting services – and the financial relationships involved in this work – may undermine the integrity of accrediting organizations and erode the public’s trust,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. The request for information will be published in Friday’s Federal Register, with comments accepted for 60 days. AHA plans to seek input from members and comment on the issue, including whether a strong “firewall” between an organization’s accrediting arm and consulting arm provides sufficient protection from conflicts of interest.

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