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The Joint Commission (TJC)

Clarify regulatory bodies, their functions, their emphasis, and their impact on health care: The Joint Commission and The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Minimum of five references.

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The Joint Commission (TJC), formerly the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), is a United States-based organization that accredits over 19,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. Founded in 1951, The intention of the Joint Commission is to
continuously improve the safety and quality of care provided to the public through the provision of health care accreditation and related services that support performance improvement in health care organizations. The Joint Commission evaluates and accredits more than 19,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States, including more than 9,500 hospitals and home care organizations, and more than 6,300 other health care organizations that provide long term care, behavioral health care, laboratory and ambulatory care services. It also provides certification of more than 1,000 disease-specific care programs, primary stroke centers, and health care staffing services.The Joint Commission is the nation's oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. It is an independent and not for profit organization.

The declared mission of the organization is "To continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value".

Although The Joint Commission was renamed Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals in 1951, it was not given deeming authority for hospitals until 1965, when it was deemed that a hospital that met Joint Commission accreditation met the Medicare Conditions of Participation. Recently, Section 125 of the Medicare Improvement for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (MIPPA) removed The Joint Commission's statutorily-guaranteed accreditation authority for hospitals which came into effect July 15, 2010. At that time, The Joint Commission's hospital accreditation program became subject to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) requirements for accrediting organizations seeking deeming authority. To avoid a lapse in deeming authority, The Joint Commission must submit an application for hospital deeming authority consistent with these requirements and within a time frame that will enable CMS to review and evaluate their submission. CMS will make the decision to grant deeming authority and determine the term.

All health care organizations, except for laboratories, are subject to a three-year accreditation cycle. The organization does not make the findings of a hospital survey public. However, it does provide the organization's accreditation decision, the date that accreditation was awarded, and any standards that were cited for improvement. Organizations deemed to be in compliance with all or most of the applicable standards are awarded the decision of Accreditation.

The unannounced full survey is a key part of theThe Joint Commission accreditation process. "Unannounced" means the organization does not receive an advance notice of its survey date. The Joint Commission began conducting unannounced surveys on January 1, 2006. Surveys will occur 18 to 39 months after the organization's previous unannounced survey.

The Joint Commission has stated that preparing for a Joint Commission survey can be a challenging process for any healthcare provider. Minimally a hospital must be completely familiar with the current standards, examine current processes, policies and procedures relative to the standards and prepare to improve any areas that are not currently meeting standards. The hospital must be in compliance with the standards for at least four months prior to the initial survey. The hospital should also be in compliance with applicable standards during the entire period of accreditation, which means that surveyors will look for a full three years of implementation for several standards-related issues.

Substantial time and resources are devoted by health care organizations ranging from medical equipment suppliers and staffing firms to tertiary care academic medical centers to prepare for and undergo Joint Commission surveys. There is an increased concern over ...

Solution Summary

The Joint Commission (TJC) is summarized, along with other regulatory bodies.

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