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Is Accreditation Sufficient? A Case Study and Argument for Transparency when Government Regulatory Authority is Delegated

Author: MARY ELEANOR WICKERSHAM and STEPHANIE BASEY
Published in JHHSA, Vol. 39 No. 2

In Georgia and across the United States, there is a fundamental and perhaps dangerous disconnect between findings of regulatory authorities and private accreditation agencies when both are charged with aspects of oversight of quality of care in opioid treatment programs. Though accreditation plays an important role in the social norming aspect of quality improvement of many health care organizations, the proprietary nature of information gathered by accrediting bodies and the lack of communication among government regulators limits the effectiveness of the current quality assurance effort. This research uses publically available data from opioid treatment programs in the State of Georgia as a case example to examine the ?regulatory fog? that obscures the ability of consumers and even state and federal governments to effectively assess quality and performance of opioid treatment programs. The authors conclude that delegation to accrediting organizations of the governments? regulatory responsibility should entail expanded public reporting and a lead agency for coordination of findings among the various regulators.

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