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Better Healthcare

Madisonians help develop
new hospital accreditation process

DNV Healthcare receives
federal accrediting authority

By Konnie McCollum
Staff Writer

(October 2008) – DNV Healthcare Inc., an auditing company based in Houston, was granted authority on Sept. 26 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to accredit hospitals for governmental reimbursement. This is the first company to receive accreditation authority in more than 40 years, and several Madison, Ind., residents and former residents have played a prominent role in developing the company’s new program, the National Integrated Accreditation for Healthcare Organizations.
There are more than 6,000 hospitals in the United States, and more than 40 percent of all patient claims are derived from governmental reimbursement. All hospitals must be accredited by Center for Medicare and Medicaid approved organizations in order to receive government reimbursement. There hasn’t been a new company approved since Medicare began in the 1960s.
DNV Healthcare combined elements of the internationally recognized ISO 9001 Quality Management System with Medicare’s Hospital Conditions of Participation. ISO 9001 is the globally implemented standard used in manufacturing for providing assurance about the ability to satisfy quality requirements and to enhance customer satisfaction in supplier-customer relationships.
“Our new program puts in elements to the accreditation process that will improve care and safety,” said DNV Healthcare Executive Vice President of Regulatory and Legal Affairs Darrell Scott. “The bottom line is that will help hospitals make fewer mistakes, which will ultimately save lives and money.” Scott was a former chief executive officer at King’s Daughters’ Hospital and Health Services in Madison.
Rebecca Wise, a former radiologist at KDHH and now the chief operating officer at DNV, was one of the developers of the new National Integrated Accreditation for Healthcare Organizations program. It was while she worked at the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, which most hospitals go through for accreditation, that she realized there had to be a better way to assess hospitals. “The entire accreditation process for hospitals had become unpleasant and negative,” she said. “We knew another way was needed.”
Another former Madison resident, Patrick Horine, was business partners for years with Wise in TUV Healthcare Specialists, a Cincinnati-based hospital consulting firm. “Hospital shortcomings in the past were often not taken care of,” he said. “In our new program, we address any problems with positive solutions and a friendly delivery. We are on the hospital’s side. We want to keep them on their toes so they can deliver maximum healthcare.”
Dr. Leon Michl, recently retired after more than 32 years as a surgeon in Madison, is one of the new surveyors for the company. He and wife, Gerry, a former registered nurse, were approached by Wise to participate in the new program.
“I retired last October and started training for the new opportunity in November,” he said. “I realized this new program would be a significant step towards improved healthcare around the world.” The Michls will travel to India in the fall to assess hospitals there for accreditation through the new program.
Michl explained that the new National Integrated Accreditation for Healthcare Organizations is more objective than subjective. There are specific written standards and guidelines for hospitals to follow. “The accreditation process prior to our new program had veered away from actual participation by hospital employees, staff and patients,” he said. “Hospitals had become nervous about auditor visits because they had become punitive. Many problems were hidden and there was no quality improvement. Our program works with hospitals, not against them.”
In the new program, auditors visit the hospital each year, as opposed to the current three-year auditing system. Surveys are taken from people in every aspect of the hospital from patients to housekeeping staff. “The whole process is proactive,” said Michl.
Dana Riddle, a former KDHH employee who left the company to write not-for-profit grants, is now also surveyor for DNV Healthcare. “It was Madisonians who worked for years to develop a new program to change the way healthcare is administered to improve quality,” said Riddle. “Our community should be very proud of the fact that the new accreditation program is being adopted by hospitals worldwide. It has given hospitals a ‘fresh-eye’ to help improve quality care.”

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