JCAHO President Criticizes LAT Article on Rule Changes
An April 6 Los Angeles Times article that indicated recent rule changes by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations in "setting the thresholds for intensive review of accreditation decisions reflect a relaxation in performance expectations" for hospitals "misses the mark," JCAHO President Dennis O'Leary writes in letter to the editor of the Times (O'Leary, Los Angeles Times, 4/11).
Under the rule changes, large hospitals can accrue 14 violations, rather than 10, before they are downgraded to conditional accreditation and 20 violations, rather than 15, before they lose accreditation. Small hospitals can accrue 11 violations before they are downgraded to conditional accreditation and 16 violations before they lose accreditation.
In addition, changes in accreditation status for hospitals are not automatic and require approval by a committee (California Healthline, 4/6).
O'Leary writes that the rule changes "are simply designed to assure that the right hospitals are the subject of intensified review," adding that the "number of adverse accreditation decisions increased in 2005 and is likely to further increase in 2006." According to O'Leary, "there have been no expressed concerns among accredited organizations about the new process, and the joint commission has received no pressure from any source to make its accreditation process less rigorous" (Los Angeles Times 4/11).