[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 185 (Friday, September 23, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Pages 59136-59138]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-24547]


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DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

[CMS-2377-PN]


Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Application by Community Health 
Accreditation Program for Continued Deeming Authority for Home Health 
Agencies

AGENCY: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), HHS.

ACTION: Proposed notice.

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SUMMARY: This proposed notice with comment period acknowledges the 
receipt of a deeming application from the Community Health 
Accreditation Program (CHAP) for continued recognition as a national 
accrediting organization for home health agencies (HHAs) that wish to 
participate in the Medicare or Medicaid programs. Section 1865(a)(3)(A) 
of the Social Security Act (the Act) requires that within 60 days of 
receipt of an organization's complete application, we publish a notice 
that

[[Page 59137]]

identifies the national accrediting body making the request, describes 
the nature of the request, and provides at least a 30-day public 
comment period.

DATES: To be assured consideration, comments must be received at one of 
the addresses provided below, no later than 5 p.m. on October 24, 2011.

ADDRESSES: In commenting, please refer to file code CMS-2377-PN. 
Because of staff and resource limitations, we cannot accept comments by 
facsimile (FAX) transmission.
    You may submit comments in one of four ways (please choose only one 
of the ways listed):
    1. Electronically. You may submit electronic comments on this 
regulation to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the ``Submit a 
comment'' instructions.
    2. By regular mail. You may mail written comments to the following 
address only:

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Department of Health and 
Human Services, Attention: CMS-2377-PN, P.O. Box 8016, Baltimore, MD 
21244-8010.

    Please allow sufficient time for mailed comments to be received 
before the close of the comment period.
    3. By express or overnight mail. You may send written comments to 
the following address only:

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Department of Health and 
Human Services, Attention: CMS-2377-PN, Mail Stop C4-26-05, 7500 
Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21244-1850.

    4. By hand or courier. If you prefer, you may deliver (by hand or 
courier) your written comments before the close of the comment period 
to either of the following addresses:
    a. For delivery in Washington, DC--

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Department of Health and 
Human Services, Room 445-G, Hubert H. Humphrey Building, 200 
Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20201.

    (Because access to the interior of the Hubert H. Humphrey Building 
is not readily available to persons without Federal government 
identification, commenters are encouraged to leave their comments in 
the CMS drop slots located in the main lobby of the building. A stamp-
in clock is available for persons wishing to retain a proof of filing 
by stamping in and retaining an extra copy of the comments being 
filed.)
    b. For delivery in Baltimore, MD--

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Department of Health and 
Human Services, 7500 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21244-1850.

    If you intend to deliver your comments to the Baltimore address, 
please call telephone number (410) 786-7195 in advance to schedule your 
arrival with one of our staff members.
    Comments mailed to the addresses indicated as appropriate for hand 
or courier delivery may be delayed and received after the comment 
period.
    For information on viewing public comments, see the beginning of 
the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Lillian Williams, (410) 786-8636.
Patricia Chmielewski, (410) 786-6899.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 
    Inspection of Public Comments: All comments received before the 
close of the comment period are available for viewing by the public, 
including any personally identifiable or confidential business 
information that is included in a comment. We post all comments 
received before the close of the comment period on the following Web 
site as soon as possible after they have been received: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the search instructions on that Web site to 
view public comments.
    Comments received timely will also be available for public 
inspection as they are received, generally beginning approximately 
three weeks after publication of a document, at the headquarters of the 
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, 7500 Security Boulevard, 
Baltimore, Maryland 21244, Monday through Friday of each week from 8:30 
a.m. to 4 p.m. To schedule an appointment to view public comments, 
phone 1-800-743-3951.

I. Background

    Under the Medicare program, eligible beneficiaries may receive 
covered services from a home health agency (HHA) provided certain 
requirements are met. Sections 1861(m) and (o), 1891 and 1895 of the 
Social Security Act (the Act) establish distinct criteria for 
facilities seeking designation as an HHA. Regulations concerning 
provider agreements are at 42 CFR part 489 and those pertaining to 
activities relating to the survey and certification of facilities are 
at 42 CFR part 488. The regulations at 42 CFR parts 409 and 484 specify 
the conditions that an HHA must meet to participate in the Medicare 
program, the scope of covered services and the conditions for Medicare 
payment for home health care.
    Generally, to enter into a provider agreement with the Medicare 
program, an HHA must first be certified by a State survey agency as 
complying with the conditions or requirements set forth in 42 CFR part 
484 of our regulations. Thereafter, the HHA is subject to regular 
surveys by a State survey agency to determine whether it continues to 
meet these requirements.
    However, there is an alternative to surveys by State agencies. 
Section 1865(a)(1) of the Act provides that, if a provider entity 
demonstrates through accreditation by an approved national accrediting 
organization that all applicable Medicare conditions are met or 
exceeded, we will deem those provider entities as having met the 
requirements. Accreditation by an accrediting organization is voluntary 
and is not required for Medicare participation.
    If an accrediting organization is recognized by the Secretary as 
having standards for accreditation that meet or exceed Medicare 
requirements, any provider entity accredited by the national 
accrediting body's approved program would be deemed to meet the 
Medicare conditions. A national accrediting organization applying for 
deeming authority under 42 CFR part 488, subpart A must provide CMS 
with reasonable assurance that the accrediting organization requires 
the accredited provider entities to meet requirements that are at least 
as stringent as the Medicare conditions. Our regulations concerning the 
reapproval of accrediting organizations are set forth at Sec.  488.4 
and Sec.  488.8(d)(3). The regulations at Sec.  488.8(d)(3) require 
accrediting organizations to reapply for continued deeming authority 
every 6 years or sooner as determined by CMS.
    The CHAP'S term of approval as a recognized accreditation program 
for HHA's expires March 31, 2012.

II. Approval of Deeming Organizations

    Section 1865(a)(2) of the Act and our regulations at Sec.  488.8(a) 
require that our findings concerning review and reapproval of a 
national accrediting organization's requirements consider, among other 
factors, the applying accrediting organization's: Requirements for 
accreditation; survey procedures; resources for conducting required 
surveys; capacity to furnish information for use in enforcement 
activities; monitoring procedures for provider entities found not in 
compliance with the conditions or requirements; and ability to provide 
us with the necessary data for validation.
    Section 1865(a)(3)(A) of the Act further requires that we publish, 
within 60 days of receipt of an organization's complete application, a 
notice

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identifying the national accrediting body making the request, 
describing the nature of the request, and providing at least a 30-day 
public comment period. We have 210 days from the receipt of a complete 
application to publish notice of approval or denial of the application.
    The purpose of this proposed notice is to inform the public of 
CHAP's request for continued deeming authority for HHAs. This notice 
also solicits public comment on whether CHAP's requirements meet or 
exceed the Medicare conditions for participation for HHAs.

III. Evaluation of Deeming Authority Request

    CHAP submitted all the necessary materials to enable us to make a 
determination concerning its request for reapproval as a deeming 
organization for HHAs. This application was determined to be complete 
on August 26, 2011. Under section 1865(a)(2) of the Act and our 
regulations at Sec.  488.8 (Federal review of accrediting 
organizations), our review and evaluation of CHAP will be conducted in 
accordance with, but not necessarily limited to, the following factors:
     The equivalency of CHAP'S standards for HHA's as compared 
with CMS' HHA conditions of participation.
     CHAP's survey process to determine the following:
    ++ The composition of the survey team, surveyor qualifications, and 
the ability of the organization to provide continuing surveyor 
training.
    ++ The comparability of CHAP's processes to those of State 
agencies, including survey frequency, and the ability to investigate 
and respond appropriately to complaints against accredited facilities.
    ++ CHAP's processes and procedures for monitoring HHAs found out of 
compliance with CHAP's program requirements. These monitoring 
procedures are used only when CHAP identifies noncompliance. If 
noncompliance is identified through validation reviews, the State 
survey agency monitors corrections as specified at Sec.  488.7(d).
    ++ CHAP's capacity to report deficiencies to the surveyed 
facilities and respond to the facility's plan of correction in a timely 
manner.
    ++ CHAP's capacity to provide us with electronic data, and reports 
necessary for effective validation and assessment of the organization's 
survey process.
    ++ The adequacy of CHAP's staff and other resources, and its 
financial viability.
    ++ CHAP's capacity to adequately fund required surveys.
    ++ CHAP's policies with respect to whether surveys are announced or 
unannounced, to assure that surveys are unannounced.
    ++ CHAP's agreement to provide us with a copy of the most current 
accreditation survey together with any other information related to the 
survey as we may require (including corrective action plans).

IV. Response to Comments

    Because of the large number of public comments we normally receive 
on Federal Register documents, we are not able to acknowledge or 
respond to them individually. We will consider all comments we receive 
by the date and time specified in the DATES section of this notice, 
and, we will respond to the comments in a subsequent document.

    Authority:  Section 1865 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 
1395bb).

(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Program No. 93.778, Medical 
Assistance Program; No. 93.773 Medicare--Hospital Insurance Program; 
and No. 93.774, Medicare--Supplementary Medical Insurance Program)

    Dated: August 31, 2011.
Donald M. Berwick,
Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
[FR Doc. 2011-24547 Filed 9-22-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4120-01-P