CMS can’t ensure that hospitals are prepared for emerging infectious disease threats like COVID-19, according to a federal watchdog report released Monday.
Although the agency announced in February 2019 that hospitals had to plan for potential outbreaks, CMS can’t confirm that all hospitals have updated their emergency preparedness plans during the pandemic because it only inspects them every three to five years, HHS’ Office of Inspector General said in its report. That’s mainly because CMS can’t require accrediting organizations, which inspect about 90% of Medicare and Medicaid-approved hospitals, to carry out more frequent quality and safety surveys or targeted infection control inspections.
“CMS’ limited authority creates a significant risk that it will not be able to ensure quality and safety at the nearly 4,200 accredited hospitals throughout the United States the next time an emerging infectious disease threatens the country,” the report said.
The agency will have to wait