The Evolution of IAC Echocardiography Accreditation Over the Last Decade
Related to the structure of the IAC, a major change occurred in April 2008 when the IAC merged its then five individual accrediting bodies (ICAVL, ICAEL, ICANL, ICAMRL, and ICACTL) into one IAC. This significant change moved the IAC from its role as a mere management organization, as it had existed for the past 12 years, to one official accrediting body, with multiple divisions. Sandra Katanick, IAC CEO, reflects on that time in IAC’s history, “The IAC reorganization marked the biggest change in our history. It was incredibly beneficial to the division Boards as they were freed of the business responsibilities of running a company and instead were able to focus their efforts on the important work of setting and maintaining standards in their areas of expertise.”
Also in response to the requirements sanctioned by CMS, in August 2011 the IAC announced a policy change related to mobile services. The previous mobile service policy was eliminated and the current multiple site (fixed and/or mobile) policy became effective through which mobile sites now apply as multiple sites. As many cardiology practices have merged with larger practices or hospitals, those changes coupled with a response to the new multiple site application policy have resulted in the IAC seeing an increase in multiple site applications [Table 5 & 6]. This increase indicates that regardless of their setting, echocardiography facilities find value in and are committed to retaining their accreditation.
The reorganization positioned IAC to be able to rebrand in 2012, with each division distinctly carrying IAC as its official name, followed by the modality (i.e., ICAEL became IAC Echocardiography). Resulting from the culmination of extensive research on the needs of facilities seeking accreditation, the new IAC brand is more than a name and logo change; it represents an evolved process to better meet the needs of participating facilities.
In 2008, Congress enacted the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA). This law, which became effective January 1, 2012, requires all nonhospital providers of advanced diagnostic imaging services (CT, MRI, Nuclear Medicine and PET) to be accredited as a condition for reimbursement.
The IAC is designated as an approved accrediting organization, by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), along with two other accreditation bodies, the American College of Radiology (ACR) and the Joint Commission. While the MIPPA law does not apply to echocardiography and vascular facilities, a few universal policy changes were set forth by IAC to comply with the CMS requirements. In an effort to further substantiate continued compliance by accredited facilities and in response to the requirements sanctioned by CMS, the IAC implemented a policy requiring all accredited facilities to undergo an audit or site visit at some time during their three-year accreditation period. From January 2010 (when the policy was instituted) through July 2013, the IAC has conducted more than 2,200 random audits and 13 site visits, a process that will continue.
table 6 ECHO / / / 27