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Investigators: Hospital 'deficiencies' overlooked

Medicare reviewers missed two-thirds of safety issues, GAO says

Tuesday, July 20, 2004 Posted: 1:05 PM EDT (1705 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The private organization that clears hospitals to receive Medicare payments missed most problems later identified by state inspectors, potentially compromising patient safety, congressional investigators said Tuesday.

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, made up mainly of health professionals, failed to find 167 of 241 "serious deficiencies" in a survey of 500 hospitals that were reviewed between 2000 and 2002, the Government Accountability Office said. The agency, Congress' investigative arm, was formerly called the General Accounting Office.

Article: http://www.cnn.com/2004/HEALTH/07/20/hospital.inspections.ap/index.html