CMS may soon allow broader use of remote surveys

by A.J. Plunkett (

Expect The Joint Commission and other accrediting organizations (AO) to begin resolving many of the unresolved follow-up surveys remotely once CMS provides clarification to an apparent broader approval for so-called “desk audits.”

The remote follow-up surveys will only involve those hospitals that do not face an immediate threat to life (ITL) or condition-level deficiency, according to sources within the accreditation community. Onsite unannounced surveys will still be conducted for complaints.

More on what the virtual surveys will look like and how far CMS will let AOs go with virtual surveys is still be worked out.

CMS has allowed remote surveys for initial accreditation and for certifications not related to reaccreditation since the beginning of summer. Since then, all the AOs have been gradually expanding their survey activities, both virtually and on-site.

Inside Accreditation & Quality has reached out to the AOs as well as CMS for confirmation and details and will update this as information becomes available.