Magazine article Drug Topics

JCAHO to Tighten Survey of Home Care Groups

Magazine article Drug Topics

JCAHO to Tighten Survey of Home Care Groups

Article excerpt

Accreditation is going to get tougher. That was the word delivered at ASHP's Conference on Home, Hospice, and Long-term Care in Chicago by representatives of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.

Faced with criticism by the federal government and demands by the public for increased accountability in medical care, JCAHO is considering a "reformulation of how we go forward,' according to Maryanne Popovich, M.P H., R.N., executive director of home care for JCAHO.

Popovich went on to explain that JCAHO has established a task force to develop improved accreditation processes-in cooperation with the subject organizations. "We are not going to make these improvements without your input,' she said. "The task force has identified topic areas, and we are going to conduct a series of focus groups over the next year, including a home care focus group. You will not have to be accredited to participate."

One thrust of the new approach will be an emphasis on patient safety, Popovich said. If a drug is not dispensed correctly and it results in death, "the public wants someone held responsible." Nonetheless, she said she was not certain that the standards for pharmacy had to be raised. The greatest impact of the changes would likely fall on hospitals, she noted.

One person attending the conference pointed out that the Type I findings-those requiring some kind of corrective action-against hospitals were almost all directed toward home care and that the institutions were becoming unhappy with this fact.

Popovich noted that JCAHO had been the subject of a critical report from the Inspector General of the Health Care Financing Administration for its surveys of hospitals (see story, page 35). That, she said, will lead to a stronger, more thorough process for hospital accreditation, which might include tougher standards-similar to the ones now in place for home care.

What JCAHO wants is recognition by facilities that "there are problems and what is being done to correct them," Popovich said.

One increasing matter of concern to JCAHO is the shortage of trained pharmacists in some parts of the country. "Over the past three years, what we've seen-and it's not pretty-is a lack of proper licensure, use of unlicensed individuals to do things that they should not be doing, mailing across state lines drugs that should not be mailed," she said. …

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