June 4—The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) should create and publish minimum national accreditation standards for advanced diagnostic imaging (ADI) suppliers and develop an oversight framework for evaluating accrediting body performance, according to recently released recommendations from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). ADI services cover the production of images for computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and nuclear medicine. 

The Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 requires that suppliers be accredited by an organization approved by CMS. To this point, CMS has relied on the three organizations it selected to provide accreditation services to establish their own standards for quality and safety. However, the GAO found significant differences among the three accrediting organizations in terms of how they assess performance. The GAO report notes that without minimum national standards, there are important aspects of imaging—qualifications of technologists and medical directors and quality of clinical images, for example—that are difficult for CMS to monitor and assess. 

The GAO report also notes that accreditation oversight by CMS is currently limited, focused primarily on ensuring claims are paid only to accredited suppliers. By setting up a framework for evaluating accrediting organization performance, the GAO believes that CMS can better ensure ADI suppliers provide safe and high-quality imaging to Medicare beneficiaries. 

Publication Date: Tuesday, June 04, 2013