King/Drew Medical Center Receives Tentative Approval From Hospital Accreditation Group
The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations "tentatively" told Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center that it passed a recent inspection and will retain full accreditation, Los Angeles County Department of Health Services officials said Monday, the Los Angeles Times reports. However, the hospital will have to address 14 problems cited by JCAHO before a formal accreditation is issued. To maintain full accreditation, King/Drew must correct problems such as "failing to note patients' conditions on their charts, failing to take patients' histories and physical exams fast enough, and failing to adequately staff" the emergency department, the Times reports. Hospitals pay JCAHO to perform the quality surveys, which are conducted every three years. JCAHO informs hospitals of their inspection dates in advance, and King/Drew -- "like many hospitals" -- hired a consultant to help prepare for the inspection, according to the Times. JCAHO spokesperson Marc Forstneger said that preliminary findings could be changed before they are finalized. JCAHO last accredited King/Drew in 2001.
According to the Times, JCAHO's findings are "particularly significant" for King/Drew, which is working "to recover from a devastating series of lapses in patient care and regulatory sanctions in recent months." CMS inspectors and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education recently have criticized King/Drew for the quality of a range of services and physician training programs. Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke, whose district includes the hospital, said, "It's certainly good to have a good news day rather than a bad news day, because we've had our share of those," adding that outside reviewers have held King/Drew to a higher standard of care because of unfavorable media coverage. "[W]hen you've had a constant hammering by the press ... obviously then you're going to have a higher level you'll have to reach in order to meet the accreditation," Burke said. County DHS Director Thomas Garthwaite said that the JCAHO findings are "an important milestone in what we believe is a profound transformation of the medical center." County DHS Chief Operating Officer Fred Leaf said, "We have a lot further to go, and I have every confidence in the world that we're going to go there" (Weber/Ornstein, Los Angeles Times, 5/11).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.