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Joint hospital survey program cancelled

January 25, 2016
Area(s) of Interest: Accreditation Hospitals and Health Facilities 


After 40 years of partnership, the Joint Commission is terminating its agreement with the California Medical Association's Institute for Medical Quality (IMQ). IMQ will, however, offer expanded consulting services for hospitals, which may include mock surveys and/or survey preparedness. Medical staffs will be able to request an IMQ consultant separate from any hospital survey.


Since the 1970s, IMQ has participated in hospital licensure and accreditation surveys in partnership with the Joint Commission. In May 2014, the consolidated survey program was discontinued, but California hospitals were still able to request an IMQ surveyor to participate on their Joint Commission survey. Unfortunately, fewer than half of the hospitals have opted for an IMQ surveyor.


The Joint Commission cited the decline in organizations electing IMQ participation in the hospital accreditation program as one factor in its decision to terminate the agreement, effective April 20, 2016. Another factor was IMQ’s Ambulatory Survey Program application for deemed status with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which the Joint Commission indicated was in direct competition with its own Ambulatory Program. Ambulatory Surgery Centers that obtain deemed status through IMQ accreditation will be able to be reimbursed by Medicare and other insurances that require CMS certification.


The cancellation is a huge blow to medical staffs in California, as IMQ’s participation provided medical staffs with a physician surveyor who was knowledgeable about California laws and requirements, as well as the Joint Commission standards. IMQ’s participation helped promote higher quality health care for all Californians.


IMQ surveyors will complete the surveys scheduled in the first quarter for hospitals that have requested an IMQ surveyor.


Contact: Leslie Anne Iacopi, (415) 882-5167 or liacopi@imq.org.

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