JCAHO Report Critical of Alta Bates Summit Medical Center
Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland and Berkeley has received a "draft" finding of Preliminary Denial of Accreditation from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations following a review that uncovered "numerous problems" at the hospital, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Although details of the findings were not made available, Dr. John Gentile, the hospital's vice president of medical affairs, said that most of the problems involved paperwork issues, including incomplete documentation of care provided. Gentile added that none of the problems uncovered by JCAHO involved issues of improper patient care. "There were a huge number of little, tiny, picayune documentation items that certain surveyors felt should be noted," Gentile said.
He also said that JCAHO criticized Alta Bates for the size and layout of its emergency department. Hospital officials said they have been "attempting to resolve [the ED problems] for 12 years, only recently acquiring the necessary local permits for renovations," the Chronicle reports.
Carolyn Kemp, a spokesperson for Alta Bates, said the hospital does not agree with many of the findings in the report.
Hospital administrators said they believe the negative review from JCAHO could be related to the group's efforts to make its inspection process more stringent following criticism from the federal government.
In July, the Government Accountability Office "issued a scathing critique of JCAHO and said Congress needed to acquire direct authority to monitor the group's performance," the Chronicle reports.
JCAHO's finding will remain in draft form until the end of November, during which time the hospital can highlight errors or omissions in the report. JCAHO then has three months to issue a final survey finding, during which time findings can be modified as a result of discussions with the hospital.
If the problems are not resolved or explained, JCAHO could deny Alta Bates accreditation. Alta Bates could appeal the decision.
Charlene Hill, a spokesperson for JCAHO, said loss of accreditation is very rare (Russell, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/13).