Earlier this summer, I wrote about the new conditions of participation for hospitals that, among other things, would have required medical staff participation on hospital governing boards. As I suggested might happen, it appears CMS may revisit this requirement. Specifically, CMS has apparently directed state survey agencies not to assess compliance with this requirement, or to cite deficiencies relating to any non-compliance with this requirement, until further advised by CMS.
There are a variety of ways to look at the circumstances of and fallout from the medical staff participation requirement. At the time the new conditions of participation were announced, this appeared a cautionary tale, one that illustrated the potential and unintended consequences, and potentially adverse effect, of a lack of foresight, proper analysis and planning. In view of the recent suspension of enforcement, which may lead to an eventual abandonment or repeal of the rule, this may now look like nothing more than an example of how even potentially significant adverse consequences can ultimately be avoided, or “undone”.