Magazine article Drug Topics

New Standards

Magazine article Drug Topics

New Standards

Article excerpt

JCAHO ready to accredit long-term care pharmacies

Are you ready for new standards from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO)? At the midyear meeting of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists held in Marco Island, Fla., last month, Darryl S. Rich, Pharm.D., M.B.A., said that the new standards for long-term care pharmacies were approved on May 18 and will go into effect on July 1.

Rich, who is a pharmacy services integrator for JCAHO, said that the organization will start training surveyors on the new standards soon and plans to begin accrediting programs in late July.

Candidates for accreditation include pharmacy providers who serve at least one skilled nursing facility. The provider may or may not offer consultant services. Firms that provide consultant-only services are not eligible for accreditation unless they contract out provider services as part of their business.

To date, accreditation is based on compliance with standards, but, in the future, JCAHO hopes to develop more outcomes-oriented performance measures.

The standards are divided into two areas: client-centered functions, which pertain to the long-term care facility or the residents themselves, and organizational functions. Rich explained, "When we look at [clientcentered] functions, we're much more focused on the actual patient care that is provided rather than on the overall operations of the organization."

The second part of the standards evaluate organizational functions, which, according to Rich, "pertain to how a good business should be run."

For each standard, there is also an intent, which was developed to help health-care providers interpret the standards. Rich explained that the standards are purposely broad so that there can be multiple ways of meeting their intent. This was done "to allow for a more entrepreneurial approach by organizations for meeting the intent in a more cost-effective way," he said, and to allow organizations to develop better techniques for meeting the intent of the standards.

Rich emphasized that all standards may not be applicable to all organizations and that JCAHO expects overall compliance with the standards but doesn't expect compliance with each and every standard. …

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