The American Nurses Association filed suit against HHS alleging that the agency has failed to enforce Medicare's registered nurse staffing regulation. The ANA alleged that the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, which certifies most hospitals for Medicare participation, has lower standards than the Medicare regulation.
According to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, the JCAHO doesn't require hospitals to staff enough registered nurses to guarantee the "immediate availability" of an RN as required by Medicare rules. In addition, the ANA alleged that the JCAHO doesn't hold hospitals to the federal standard for reviewing and revising staffing schedules to meet patient-care needs and adjust for nurse absenteeism. The ANA asked the court to require HHS to ensure JCAHO-certified hospitals actually meet the Medicare standard. An HHS spokeswoman said in an e-mail that the agency had not received the litigation and declined to comment. Two ANA states affiliates, New York and Washington, joined the suit.
[ via Modern Healthcare ]