Licensure, Certification and Accreditation

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STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF HOSPITAL ACCREDITATION IN THE UNITED STATES THROUGH THE JCAHO The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Organizations (JCAHO) establishes standards for health organizations that cover a wide spectrum of operations and responsibilities…

Introduction

The principal focus of all standards developed for the JCAHO is supposed to be on the patient. While the specifics of a standard for a particular performance area may emphasize the clinical or operational aspects of that performance area, the ultimate intent of the performance standard, according to the JCAHO, is the outcome for the patient (Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Organizations, 1996b). As a part of its health care accreditation program, the JCAHO began almost decade ago to require health care institutions to report sentinel events as a part of the JCAHO accreditation watch program. Sentinel events are patient-care errors or accidents that lead to patient death or major injury (Moore, 1998). In theory, the focus on sentinel events may be considered to be a strong point in the hospital accreditation process. In actual application, however, the value to the consumer of the sentinel event focus is weakened considerably. In 1998, the JCAHO issued a revision to its sentinel event policy that encouraged health care organizations to voluntarily report sentinel events to the JCAHO, while the JCAHO in turn would stop making sentinel events information available to the public. ...
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