The Joint Commission and How It Affects Us Many health care facilities in which audiologists and speech-language pathologists work are accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). It is the largest group in the United States that certifies health care facilities under a uniform set of standards. Those of us who have gone through ... ASHA News
Free
ASHA News  |   October 01, 2002
The Joint Commission and How It Affects Us
Author Notes
  • Don Vogel, is the coordinator of audiology for Lenox Hill Hospital and Manhattan Eye, Ear & Throat Hospital. He has nearly completed the AuD program at Central Michigan University. He can be reached at dvogel@lenoxhill.net
    Don Vogel, is the coordinator of audiology for Lenox Hill Hospital and Manhattan Eye, Ear & Throat Hospital. He has nearly completed the AuD program at Central Michigan University. He can be reached at dvogel@lenoxhill.net×
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Hearing Disorders / Special Populations / Early Identification & Intervention / Healthcare Settings / Professional Issues & Training / Language Disorders / ASHA News
ASHA News   |   October 01, 2002
The Joint Commission and How It Affects Us
The ASHA Leader, October 2002, Vol. 7, 2-10. doi:10.1044/leader.AN2.07182002.2
The ASHA Leader, October 2002, Vol. 7, 2-10. doi:10.1044/leader.AN2.07182002.2
Many health care facilities in which audiologists and speech-language pathologists work are accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). It is the largest group in the United States that certifies health care facilities under a uniform set of standards. Those of us who have gone through it know firsthand that preparing and undergoing a Joint Commission survey can be daunting—even hair-raising.
JCAHO (pronounced “jay-coh”) has been around since 1951. Although accreditation is elective, there are nearly 18,000 facilities (more than 4,700 hospitals) evaluated and rated by the Joint Commission for compliance to their set of standards in health care. A survey normally lasts no more than one week and is conducted by a small team of health care professionals. JCAHO has an established day-to-day agenda that varies depending upon the type of facility being visited.
For hospitals alone, there are more than 500 standards encompassing every aspect of patient contact—including human resources, building services, infection control, patient rights, employee safety, and more. Record keeping, patient satisfaction, medical credentialing, food service, emergency management, performance improvement, age-specific competencies, and patient confidentiality are other standards examined during a Joint Commission visit.
These standards are ever-evolving—what was relevant in a survey three years ago may have changed, making the current visit’s focus quite different. Employee safety, for example, has emerged as a hot topic in recent years along with patient safety and “sentinel events”—unanticipated events with significant negative consequences (see glossary at right).
JCAHO’s perspective regarding speech and hearing areas is obviously different than that of nursing or intensive care units. Nevertheless, JCAHO is aware of issues regarding communication disorders. Consider, as an example, early hearing detection and intervention (EHDI). A surveyor may ask a staff member what technology is used for screening, who performs the screening, who trains the screeners, about parent education and counseling, or about what the policy and procedure is for moderate sedation of an infant. A hint—always defer to the appropriate person in charge if you are not the individual responsible for the area in question.
An example of ASHA’s relationship with JCAHO is that ASHA Functional Communication Measures are approved measures to meet JCAHO’s requirements to collect outcome measures.
As a clinician in communication disorders, don’t err by thinking you’ll be passed over for a more important department. There are many facilities in which JCAHO has given a thorough inspection of the speech and hearing areas, including staff interviews, policy and procedure reviews, and examination of equipment calibration documents. Remember, if asked a question, answer directly and to the point. Don’t volunteer information.
The survey and preparing for it does not need to be traumatic for anyone. In fact, a Joint Commission survey is a perfect time for you to shine as a clinician or administrator by showing your preparedness. Your best approach is to always do your work well, conscientiously, intelligently, and with organization.
0 Comments
Submit a Comment
Submit A Comment
Name
Comment Title
Comment


This feature is available to Subscribers Only
Sign In or Create an Account ×
FROM THIS ISSUE
October 2002
Volume 7, Issue 18