Monday, August 11, 2003
Baptist's Medical Center, Restorative Care Hospital, Home Health and Outpatient Laboratories have again received a three-year accreditation by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). Joint Commission Accreditation indicates these departments at Baptist have demonstrated substantial compliance with national standards for patient safety and quality of care.
"We seek accreditation for our organization because we want to demonstrate our commitment to a high standard of quality care to the community," said Vickie Gerrard, RN, Baptist JCAHO coordinator. "This measures Baptist against national standards set by health care professionals."
Specially trained surveyors evaluate each health care organization's compliance with Joint Commission standards and identify the organization's strengths and weaknesses. They look at multiple documents, interview employees, patients and physicians, review medical records, and tour facilities to determine compliance with the JCAHO standards for accreditation. The surveyors' goal is to provide education and consultation so health care organizations can maintain high standards of health care.
Baptist was also the second out of 50 hospitals nationwide to participate in JCAHO's new "Shared Visions-New Pathways" survey process. This was part of JCAHO's own continuous improvement initiative to revamp its accreditation criteria. JCAHO gathered information and opinions about their accreditation process from health care organizations, purchasers, consumers and others having a stake in impact of accreditation. The culmination of input led to the dramatic redesign and improvement of their accreditation process, which will be implemented in January 2004.
"We felt this was a good opportunity to collaborate with JCAHO and facilitate revisions in the current accreditation process. It was also a good way to determine our compliance with the standards," Gerrard added.
Joe Cappiello, JCAHO vice president for Accreditation Field Operations stated they learned a lot from the pilot survey process at Baptist. They revised their proposed model for surveys based on the pilot surveys.
"We were given opportunity to give them feedback about the proposed changes to the survey process," Gerrard said. "We also evaluated an on-line application form and a self-assessment tool. The self-assessment tool will be web-based - a change which will be an improvement over the pilot CD-ROM tool."
Founded in 1951, the Joint Commission accredits nearly 17,000 health care organizations in the United States and many other countries and is committed to assuring the American public of quality health care. An independent, not-for-profit organization, the Joint Commission is the nation's oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. For more information, visit JCAHO's website at www.jcaho.org .
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