Alta Bates Summit Medical Center Appeals Accreditation Denials
Alta Bates Summit Medical Center on Thursday appealed to a Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations review panel in Chicago to reverse a preliminary denial of accreditation JCAHO issued the hospital in February, the Contra Costa Times reports (Silber, Contra Costa Times, 5/12).
JCAHO in March sent Alta Bates Summit a formal notice warning the medical center that it might lose accreditation after a November 2004 JCAHO survey found the medical center failed several accreditation requirements (California Healthline, 3/16).
To keep its accreditation, Alta Bates Summit must prove that at the time of the November survey it met at least six of the 17 JCAHO standards cited (Contra Costa Times, 5/12). Following Thursday's appeal, the review panel will report its findings to JCAHO's Accreditation Committee for final approval (California Healthline, 3/16). A decision will be made this summer.
If the current appeal is rejected, Alta Bates Summit would be able to file one additional appeal.
Mark Crafton, executive director of state and external relations for JCAHO, said that 90% of hospitals that are issued a preliminary denial lose their accreditation, while the remaining 10% receive conditional or full accreditation.
At a public meeting on the issue earlier this month, state legislators expressed concern that a loss of accreditation could cause the medical center to become ineligible for participation in Medicare and Medicaid, a change that could increase the caseload for other hospitals in Contra Costa and Alameda counties. Alta Bates Summit treats more Medicare patients than any other hospital in the two counties, according to the Times.
Assembly member Loni Hancock (D-El Centro) said, "Clearly, this is not a trivial situation. It could really affect the future of health care in the East Bay."
According to a CMS spokesperson, hospitals rarely lose Medicare and Medicaid funding, even if they lose JCAHO accreditation.
Alta Bates Summit spokesperson Carolyn Kemp said, "We fully expect, because of how discussions have gone with [JCAHO], that we will remain accredited." She added, "We disagree with some of the [survey] findings, but we've made improvements to every area addressed" (Contra Costa Times, 5/12).