Magazine article Drug Topics

Not Really, Thanks: Community Pharmacy Pops JCAHO Balloon

Magazine article Drug Topics

Not Really, Thanks: Community Pharmacy Pops JCAHO Balloon

Article excerpt

Faced with a dwindling supply of hospital clients, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations recently sent up a trial balloon about accrediting community pharmacies-for a fee, of course. The idea has been shot down by most national pharmacy associations, which think the profession can manage quality assurance quite nicely, thank you.

A consulting firm was hired by JCAHO to find out whether drugstore chains would be interested in pursuing accreditation for their community pharmacies, said Darryl Rich, Pharm.D., JCAHO associate director for home care accreditation services and long-term care pharmacy. JCAHO is the major U.S. accrediting body for health-care organizations, but it does not credential individual practitioners. Rich said that the current research is focused strictly on chains because they're the big players in the community pharmacy market. He added that if one or two big chains decided JCAHO accreditation was a winner, they could drive a lot of the market.

"The commission's mission is to improve the quality of health care to the public," said Rich. "Anything within health care is fair game. We're also investigating such things as assisted-living facilities and dental offices. [Community pharmacy] is just one of many things we look at on a continuing basis to see if there's any interest now or in the future."

Thanks, but no thanks, is the attitude of most national groups concerned with community pharmacy. The profession has pretty much closed ranks against the prospect of some outside group getting into the business of rating the quality of community pharmacies. Community pharmacy doesn't need the services of JCAHO, agreed spokesmen for groups representing independent pharmacy, chain drugstores, and state pharmacy boards.

The only group contacted that has adopted a waitand-see attitude about JCAHO's pharmacy feeler is the American Pharmaceutical Association. Without seeing any written proposal from JCAHO, it's premature for APhA to take an official position, said William Ellis, APhA Foundation executive director and senior director of the Quality Center.

"Clearly there is a greater emphasis on the value of various health-care accreditation standards, and we need valid measures of pharmacy services' quality, with a focus on the pharmacist's role in patient outcomes," said Ellis. "But the best way to do that is open to discussion. …

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