After Entering a Joint Venture: What Happens to ASC Accreditation?
But what happens when a freestanding ASC enters into a joint venture with a hospital?
"When a change of ownership occurs the current accreditation becomes null and void," says Marcy Sasso, director of compliance and operations at Sasso Consulting. "The joint venture forms a new LLC and submits the new ownership paperwork to CMS and the accrediting organization. Even if the ASC or hospital just passed their accreditation, new ownership means new start-up and there is no grandfathering in."
ASCs frequently discuss their accreditation while negotiating the terms of the joint venture and both partners decide which accrediting body they'll pursue going forward. Sometimes the ASC might have certification under a different accreditor than the hospital and will require a change; other times ASCs may be able to stick with the same accreditation agency. More often than not, however, the ASC goes with the hospital's current accreditation organization.
"The regulations for ASCs are very different from hospital requirements," says Ms. Sasso. "The new governing board may want to inquire as to the staff's experience of both organizations. In one particular joint venture, the ASC's management team had an AAAHC surveyor working for them [and] a strong clinical staff who were very familiar with the AAAHC handbook so they made the case to their hospital to switch to AAAHC."
Regardless of which route the ASC takes, it's paramount to consider accreditation post-joint venture during the transition and for all parties to understand requirements, which differ from one accrediting body to the next.
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