The Joint Commission:
The joint commission is the body that concerns itself with observance of standards in healthcare. The body operates in the United States of America. The body certifies healthcare organisations based on their record of accomplishment and performance concerning set standards. Considering the fact that the commission has a subscription list of nineteen thousand health care facilities, it is a reputable origination. It is a non-for profit-oriented organisation (Brauer, 2001). Its primary goal is to ensure healthcare standards maintenance and enforcement throughout the country take place. Stakeholders view certificates issued by the commission as a true vindication of performance and quality. Goals of the commission are achieved by collaborating with health facilities and encouraging them to provide a high degree of care and services to the people. The body ensures adherence to the certification by carrying out follow up checks every two years (Joint Commission, 2012).
In case of laboratories, the commission determines the viability of these facilities every two years. This is done with a view to ensuring that standards are observed and upheld. Having set up shop sixty-one years ago, the organisation claim to be the oldest accrediting institution in the entire country that is still holds relevance. The accreditation standard set by the body is taken in lofty regard in medical circles. Apart from the long-running experience in the healthcare circles, it is the only organisation with the required resources to evaluate the entire spectrum of healthcare facilities in the country. In light of the information given, it is discernible that the organisation wields considerable influence in the running of affairs of the medical practice as far as standards are concerned. The organisation is analysed in intimate detail in this paper.
Purposes of the commission are varied, but it has a number of main purposes. The commission’s most crucial function is tort and injury prevention. It is inevitable, during the course of medical practice, that errors may occur and the mistakes translate into far reaching repercussions. The joint commission is at the forefront of preventing and addressing the cases of medical negligence. The core aspect of litigation and the course of justice are determination of neglect (Fiscina, 1991). It is often difficult for a patient to prove professional negligence. The joint commission steps in by setting standards and enforcing the same. Concisely, the necessity to address the situation arose out of an insufficient tort system. It was widely regarded that the tort system available under the law was inadequate. Court cases dragged for long, and patients were often under-compensated. The joint commission eases the process of litigation precisely because it has a team of highly skilled medics. It specialises in the same area covered by its mandate.
The complexity of medical cases increases once one considers the potential loopholes involved. It is possible for medic to claim that they did all in their power to save the situation. The joint committee spearheads tort resolution and injury address by exercising its authority (Fiscina, 1991). The commission could decide to revoke the health facility’s certificate. Further, the commission could advise patients to seek treatment elsewhere. In the interest of public good, the commission can provide evidence before a court of law to incriminate a health facility accused under tort or of lethal injury. By setting guidelines, solving litigation, and enforcing adherence, the joint commission acts as the mediator of tort cases and injury.
Injury prevention is achieved through accreditation of medical facilities. The Gold Seal of Approval is the highest award that is handed to a health organisation. Lofty standards maintained by the commission ensure that it is impossible for unscrupulous health facilities to secure certificates of their operation. Health care facilities have to be put through the testing process that ensures compliance (Joint Commission, 2012).Given the nature and multiplicity of organisations in the medical industry, the commission has to set up unique standards for each type of facility. The facility will be entitled to the process of operation once it gains a certificate. Another salient purpose of the commission is to safeguard the interests of the patients. The commission achieves this by ensuring that it sets goals (Brauer, 2001).
The goals it sets for the health facilities are geared towards marinating standards that guarantee the perpetual well-being of patients in order to avoid injury to patients. Failure to enhance this would eventually hand the health facilities the leeway to cause untold havoc on people. The commission works with insurance companies to rewards the facilities that adhere to their set standards and work ethic. Insurance companies subsequently pay out high amounts of money to those facilities that have the certification. Good ethic and careful practise are touted as the reasons behind the move. In essence, health facilities end up adhering to the rules to avoid lower payouts. In this case, the certification is proof of a facility’s degree of care.
The commission is a private body, and it carries unannounced tests in health care establishments. The unannounced tests are designed to test the compliance levels of health facilities with laid down procedures and standards. The surveys normally assess the environmental aspect of health care systems and patient safety. The unannounced tests have been sloughed down lately. The health care facilities assessed since the year 2007 have often been afforded no form of notification to that effect. The international surveys carried out by the commission feature prior notification as standard procedure. This enables the facilitates to prepare themselves for a survey in advance, the commission does not give the results to the public gallery, but it provides the accreditation. In the same token, it gives the standards that it applies in assessing a given health facility. The areas suggested for improvement are highlighted, at times, in public (Joint Commission, 2012).
The commission awards their accreditation to the health facility deemed to have attained satisfactory performance in most of the areas. The benefit of receiving funds from Medicaid agencies motivates health care facilitates to do their best at attaining the accreditation from the commission. Each year the commission revises its policies and standards in order to serve patients sufficiently. This annual drive sets the new rules for hospitals to meet. The commission updates depend on the need to address specified issues pertinent to the safety of the patients. The commission posts the new regulations and standards online so that all the stakeholders gin access to the same. This ensures that patients are aware of the quality of service they expect to receive and the practitioners know the standards to which they should measure up. Standard reviews are normally accompanied by expert analysis of the situation and the reason behind the revisions (Brauer, 2001).
The commission was founded on the sole objective of providing healthcare standards with the patient in focus. Several other health care organisations pooled resources to sure that the project took over. The body continued to grow and amass new standards for use by the health care facilities. Criticism has been levelled against the commission in the past. The allegations indicate that the board of commissioners is comprised of members of health facilities. In essence, the allegations implied that the health care facilities were assessing themselves on the job. The assessors sent, by the commission to, assess the hospital are mostly practising medics themselves. The medics devote some of their time to work for the organisation. The commission does not have exclusive rights to assess all healthcare facilitates in the entire country.
There are sates that prefer to have their own authorities working in collaboration with other state sponsored monitoring authorities. There is a level of discontent with the fact that external organisations are accorded prior notice of assessment. Domestic health care facilitates are not accorded the same treatment. Alternative survey and assessment authorities exist. The authorities normally focus on a specific branch of healthcare, such as osteopathy. These bodies only ensure compliance with their given areas of expertise. The commission carries out other duties on a smaller scale and as the need arises (Joint Commission, 2012). The main duty of the commission is exemplary patient safety and treatment. All other duties are consequently secondary to the same. Duties also vary from state to state, depending on the mandate the commission handles and legislation. In states like Oklahoma, the commission is not recognised.
The primary mission of the commission is to ensure public health standards are observed in order to avoid injury to patients. It accomplishes this task by ensuring that it sets standards for the healthcare facilities to encourage them to provide high quality health care services to the people. The commission appreciates the need for sufficient information. Pursuant to this principle, it publishes all the new and revised standards to facilitate their awareness. This enables the health care facilities to adjust accordingly, and patients to know what to expect when being treated. These objectives are often tailored to make sure that they address the need for problematic areas and inconsistency. The commission has enacted some changes with regard to this end. The patients are also being actively involved in efforts to achieve the goals. Patients are actively involved in the exercise of drafting new standards that will help the two parties reach an understanding.
Accreditation is divided into five main pillars. The first one is ambulatory care that presents solutions to patients from four or less than four surgeons. Then there is behavioural health care and critical access accreditation. In this case, accreditation represents a facility allowing access to the health facility in case of emergencies (Joint Commission, 2012). Laboratory service the once in two years’ service check that ensures compliance with lab standards. It is difficult for hospital staff to use the tools because of the nature of keeping a hospital lab in check. The commission also yearns to be specialising so that it can offer more specialised services. There are programs for offering disease-specific certificates and advanced disease specific accreditation. These are aimed at creating a flexible mechanism to deal with the occurrence or frequency of specified diseases (Brauer, 2001).
The healthcare staffing certificate is awarded to those health facilities that maintain a competent workforce to run their organisations. A multiplicity of specialists allows the hospital to deal with a wide variety of illnesses and conditions. Since the operation of the commission centres on the patient comfort, there is a palliative care certificate program. Palliative care presents the necessary comfort to ailing patients or those whom have encounter forms 0f suffering. There are field reviews under surveys. The field studies are carried out to carry out filed reviews. This helps many medics build a picture of the surroundings and the required drugs in terms of medication. The commission also carries out a national survey of patients to establish necessary changes. The patients fill the forms so that the relay the information to the health commission.
In such a case, the commission is bale to draft the needs of the patients and establish shortfalls. These come in handy when making new policies. Those patients who do not get a chance to be surveyed, but are willing to offer feedback, fill an online form. A number of measurements are used to determine the performance of a hospital. These measurements represent the various areas in a hospital affected by standards (Brauer, 2001). Under health services research, health facilities earn awards for spearheading efforts that lead to advancements and breakthroughs in medicine. Accountability measures warrant awards given to those health facilities that demonstrate dependable transparency in their activities. Hospitals have many departments – a fact that makes it rather easy to obfuscate the records of a hospital.
The commission also maintains a forum on the internet where patients and stakeholders could come together to share information. This goes a long way to contribute to the viability of the health care system. Topics are discussed where the patients could get information that is pertinent to diseases. The commission also maintains a health care portal recording all the information required to update patients about diseases and infections. The portal is prepared by the commission and is available readily from its website. The website of the commission has a section dedicated to news that occurs daily. The timeline offers up to date information in health circles and guidelines for health facilities. The pending updates regarding standards are also displayed there. The commission has to maintain an unusually strict schedule and adherence standard. The health care system is sensitive because people’s lives are vested in it. Laxity on the part of the commission could translate into innumerable deaths.
In conclusion, the healthcare joint commission has evolved into a fully-fledged body capable of taking into account the needs of an entire health system. The commission encounters substantial challenges occasioned by the fact that maintaining a leash on such a diverse filed has its hurdles. In the interest of public health and patient safety, the commission charges a fee for its services to health facilities. The fee chargeable represents a small figure since the organisation is a not-for profit organisation. The organisation recognised exclusively in all states by law, but it operates in collaboration with other associations nonetheless. The Joint Commission operates in international jurisdiction as well, but in such cases, it delivers prior notice of assessment to the health facility involved. In light of the purpose and structure of the commission, it is perceptible that it is a crucial body.
Brauer, C. M. (2001). Champions of quality in health care: A history of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. Lyme, Conn: Greenwich Publishing Group.
Joint Commission. (2012). Accreditation, Health Care, Certification | Joint Commission. Retrieved September 15, 2012, from http://www.jointcommission.org/
Fiscina, S. F. (1991). Medical liability. St. Paul, Minn: West Pub. Co.