New JCAHO helps consumers to choose a hospital that best suits their needs

Consumers can now check the performance of local hospitals, allowing them to determine the hospital that best suits their needs.

The Joint Commission evaluates and accredits nearly 16,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. An independent, not-for-profit organization, JCAHO is the nation's predominant standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. Since 1951, JCAHO has developed state-of-the-art, professionally based standards and evaluated the compliance of health care organizations against these benchmarks.

The Joint Commission standards address each organization's level of performance in key functional areas, such as patient rights, patient treatment, and infection control, and the standards focus not simply on an organization's ability to provide safe, high quality care, but on its actual performance as well.

JCAHO's evaluation and accreditation services are provided for the following types of organizations:

  • General, psychiatric, children's and rehabilitation hospitals.
  • Critical access hospitals.
  • Health care networks, including managed care plans, preferred provider organizations, integrated delivery networks, and managed behavioral health care organizations.
  • Home care organizations, including those that provide home health services, personal care and support services, home infusion and other pharmacy services, durable medical equipment services and hospice services.
  • Nursing homes and other long term care facilities, including subacute care programs, dementia special care programs and long term care pharmacies.
  • Assisted living facilities that provide or coordinate personal services, 24-hour supervision and assistance (scheduled and unscheduled), activities and health-related services.
  • Behavioral health care organizations, including those that provide mental health and addiction services, and services to persons with developmental disabilities of various ages, in various organized service settings.
  • Ambulatory care providers, for example, outpatient surgery facilities, rehabilitation centers, infusion centers, group practices as well as office-based surgery.
  • Clinical laboratories, including independent or freestanding laboratories, blood transfusion and donor centers, and public health laboratories.

JCAHO accreditation is recognized nationwide as a symbol of quality that reflects an organization's commitment to meeting certain performance standards. To earn and maintain accreditation, an organization must undergo an on-site survey by a JCAHO survey team at least every three years. Laboratories must be surveyed every two years.

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