JCAHO: ANNOUNCES NEW OUTCOMES-BASED ACCREDITING COMPONENT
For the first time, the Joint Commission on Accreditation ofThis is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) will include health care
outcomes, "and not just the quality of ... staff and equipment,"
in its hospital accreditation process. WASHINGTON POST reports
that the "step represents a dramatic change in the way" JCAHO
accredits some 16,000 hospitals, home health agencies and other
medical groups (Rich, 2/19). "Increasingly, purchasers, consumer
groups, the federal and state governments and the public are
demanding useful outcomes data and other performance
information," said Dennis O'Leary, president of the Joint
Commission. He added, "This ambitious initiative will take the
Joint Commission and its accredited organizations to a new
TECHNICAL SPECS: The initiative is titled ORYX: The Next
Evolution in Accreditation. The ORYX initiative is supported by
60 performance measurement systems with which JCAHO has
contracted. By December 31, 1997, all hospitals and long-term
care organizations seeking accreditation from JCAHO must choose a
measurement system and at least two clinical performance
indicators that relate to at least 20% of its patient population.
The institutions must begin submitting data to JCAHO no later
than the first quarter of 1999. Once a data system is in place,
data must be submitted on a quarterly basis. Ambulatory health,
behavioral health, home health care and laboratory groups are
scheduled to chose an outcomes system by December 31, 1998.
Health plans, integrated systems and provider-service
organizations must "choose a minimum of 10 separate measures from
one or more of five specified consensus-based measure sets" this
year. Next year, each network must choose 20 separate measures,
and by 1999, each group must choose 30 separate performance
measures (JCAHO release, 2/18).
IMPACT: POST reports that the new standards will allow
accreditors to measure factors such as "how many patients with a
breathing tube contract an infection" or the rate of C-sections,
and then "compare that rate to other facilities." Thomas Scully,
president of the Federation of American Health Systems, said,
"It's going to be difficult making comparisons on health outcomes
between institutions, but it's long overdue" (2/19).
However, Kit Costello, president of the California Nurses
Association, said that "new rules wouldn't make much difference."
She said, "It's an absolute PR scam. The Joint Commission is not
a public agency. It's a private, regulatory scheme. This does
not protect the public" (AP/WASHINGTON TIMES, 2/19).