RSSAll Entries in the "Accreditation" Category

Before the Plane Crash

In January 2009, all eyes were focused on the Hudson River after a plane flying out of New York’s LaGuardia Airport struck a flock of geese and crash landed in the river. Thanks to fast acting by the pilots, all 155 passengers survived, with few major injuries, in the disaster dubbed “the Miracle on the Hudson.” However, trouble emerged in the aftermath when people tried to find out which hospital their loved ones had been sent to.

“Some of the patients went to New York and some went to New Jersey. And because of HIPAA laws, it was very difficult for airline authorities to get the names of who was where,” says Sharon Carlson, RN, director of Emergency Preparedness at Sharp HealthCare in San Diego, CA. “As a family member you can imagine your terror knowing that your loved one was in a plane crash and not knowing where they are. That’s a big issue we always have, reunifying people after a disaster.”

“Because of [the Miracle on the Hudson] we decided in San Diego that we needed to make relationships before an event happens,” she adds. “Get to know each other, work together, know each other by first name, know each other’s number.”

Using the lessons learned from the Hudson, Carlson and her health system joined a disaster partnership with their local airport, San Diego International (SAN.) The airport has been growing steadily over the past decade, with over 22 million people flying in and out of it in 2017. The airport partnership was started originally in 2010 by UC San Diego Health system.

The transportation administration requires SAN to conduct major disaster drills periodically. As part of the partnership, Sharp Healthcare is included in those drills, Carlson says. They practice their communication process once a year to ensure everybody is on the same page and that there’s been no changes in the contact information.

“We have a partnership with the airports, so they know who to contact at our hospitals,” she says. “And we’ve sent it through our compliance and legal departments, they know what kind of information we can give them.”

In the event of a plane crash or disaster, airport staff have a list of hospital contacts so they can reach out, then read names off the plane’s manifest and the hospital will be able to tell them which people on the list are there or not.

“We don’t give out conditions, injuries, or illnesses,” she says. “We just say if they’re here or not. Because the airline is wanting to tell the family members ‘ok, go over here, your loved one is at this hospital.’”

WEBINAR – Preliminary Denial of Accreditation: Actions, Recovery, and Prevention

Presented on: Wednesday, December 12, 2018 |1:00-2:30 p.m. EST

Presented by: Kurt A Patton, MS, RPh.\

Register: https://hcmarketplace.com/preliminary-denial-of-accreditation

When the Joint Commission hands out a Preliminary Denial of Accreditation (PDA) decision, you have a small window to set things right. If you can’t get your hospital to band together to fix the problem, a PDA can cost you your accreditation, reputation, and ability to treat patients. And that’s before CMS gets involved.

Join former Joint Commission surveyor Kurt Patton, MS, RPh, this August as he reviews how you might get a PDA, what you can do about it, and what surveyors will expect during their follow-up.

At the conclusion of this program, participants will be able to:

  • Contest a PDA decision
  • Develop a corrective action plan in less than 10 days
  • Focus and prepare for the 60-day PDA follow-up survey
  • Get organized and keep staff and leaders accountable for deadlines
  • Prioritize the most difficult performance-based findings in preparation for the 60-day follow-up survey

Agenda

  • What to do if you think an “immediate threat” or “immediate jeopardy” situation is pending
  • What to do if your report is posted and you are surprised to learn it is PDA
  • How to develop a strategy to dig your way out of this situation
  • How to do a corrective action plan in contrast with an Evidence of Standards Compliance (ESC)
  • How to prepare for the most difficult survey you’ve ever experienced: the 60-day PDA follow-up survey
  • Live Q&A

Biased Against Accredited Hospitals? Joint Commission Refutes Study

By Steven Porter

A study that found independent hospital accreditation carries no real benefit for patient outcomes has garnered a formal rebuttal from The Joint Commission, which argues the researchers reached faulty conclusions due to a number of methodological flaws.

Authors of the original report, published last month in the BMJ, said their findings show that hospitals accredited by private organizations were no better than those reviewed by a state survey agency, and at least one researcher involved in the project cited it as evidence that the status quo should be upended.

“We need to rethink what private accreditation buys us. Its a huge industry,” Ashish K. Jha, MD, MPH, a professor of global health and health policy at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and a practicing internist at the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System, wrote last month in a tweet linking to the report. “We find little evidence that its doing patients good.”

Jha expounded on the report’s conclusions this month in a JAMA Forum article.

“The findings are clear: accredited hospitals do not seem to be providing better care,” he wrote.

“We need to reexamine the standards required for accreditation to ensure that they are promoting what’s actually important: the health, safety, and optimal experience of patients,” Jha added.

The Joint Commission, however, contends that the study drew invalid conclusions by trying to compare “two radically different groups of hospitals” resulting in a bias against accredited hospitals. The organization, which is the predominant independent hospital accrediting organization in the U.S., submitted a formal response that the BMJ published last week, followed by aseparate statement.

One of the big complaints raised by The Joint Commission was the difference in size of hospitals in the group accredited by independent organizations versus the group reviewed by state survey agencies. While two-thirds of the hospitals in the former group have more than 100 beds, an overwhelming majority, 93%, of hospitals in the latter group have fewer than 100 beds, the organization said.

Larger hospitals and teaching hospitals, especially, tend to care for more-seriously ill patients, too, but the researchers made their comparisons worse by failing to adjust for differences in patients’ severity of illness, according to The Joint Commission’s healthcare quality evaluation division Executive Vice President David W. Baker, MD, MPH, FACP, and President and CEO Mark R. Chassin, MD, FACP, MPP, MPH, who drafted the organization’s formal response.

What’s more, the study reviewed mortality for six categories of surgical procedures, but a majority of the hospitals in the group reviewed by state survey agencies didn’t perform some of the procedures being studied (because some procedures are uncommon at smaller hospitals), Baker and Chassin wrote.

“[D]espite the small numbers of cases, the authors combined the outcomes of the six types of surgery into a single multivariate model,” they wrote, arguing that this is problematic because more than 80% of all surgical cases for hospitals reviewed by state survey agencies were for hip replacements, while hospitals with independent accreditation covered all six categories.

“For three of the five other surgical procedures, the results favored [accrediting organization] hospitals,” they wrote.

Baker and Chassin complained that the authors minimized the importance of lower readmission rates for independently accredited hospitals.

“Based on the 3 million medical admissions at Joint Commission-accredited hospitals, which represent 88% of all medical admissions to [accrediting organization] hospitals, the findings indicate that patients treated in Joint Commission-accredited hospitals experienced 12,000 fewer deaths and 24,000 fewer readmissions,” they wrote. “These differences matter to patients.”

Jha, who is listed as the point of contact for the authors of the original report, did not respond to HealthLeaders‘ request for a response to The Joint Commission’s concerns.

CMS Extends Time to Finalize Discharge Planning Proposal

By AJ Plunkett

If you were expecting to implement the latest discharge planning revisions to the Medicare Conditions of Participation soon, you can breathe a little easier for now. CMS took the unusual step on October 30 of announcing a year’s time extension to publish the final rule. The extension runs through November 3, 2019.

By federal regulation, such rules must be finalized and published with three years of proposal “except under exceptional circumstances.” In announcing the time extension for the final rule, which could have significant impact on hospitals and home health agencies, CMS noted that it received 229 comments after it first proposed the rule November 3, 2015.

“In this case, the complexity of the rule and scope of public comments warrants the extension of the timeline for publication,” according to the Federal Register notice published online October 30.

The rule, “Medicare and Medicaid Program; Revisions to Requirements for Discharge Planning for Hospitals, Critical Access Hospitals, and Home Health Agencies,” has been under review by CMS’ legal team since at least April, according to consultants and other officials.

CMS wants to coordinate with IT

CMS indicated that part of the delay was in order to collaborate with HHS’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

Among other things, CMS is proposing to “implement the discharge planning requirements of the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act of 2014 (Pub. L. 113-185), that requires hospitals, including, but not limited to, short-term acute care hospitals, CAHs and certain post-acute care (PAC) providers, including long term care hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, HHAs, and skilled nursing facilities, to take into account quality measures and resource use measures to assist patients and their families during the discharge planning process in order to encourage patients and their families to become active participants in the planning of their transition to the PAC setting (or between PAC settings),” according to the extension announcement.

Based on information received from the public and other stakeholders, CMS says it needs more time to evaluate the impact of the proposed rule.

“The commenters presented procedural and cost information related to their specific circumstances, and the information presented requires additional analysis,” says CMS, adding that “we have determined that there are significant policy issues that need to be resolved in order to address all of the issues raised by public comments to the proposed rule and to ensure appropriate coordination with other government agencies.”

CMS Report: AOs missing fire safety and IC deficiencies during survey

Expect CMS to continue pressuring The Joint Commission (TJC) and other accrediting organizations (AO) to find more of the serious life safety, environment of care, and infection control issues the federal agency says they are still missing during surveys.

In the newest report to Congress assessing AO performance, CMS says the overall disparity rate between serious problems identified by the AOs at hospitals and those found by CMS surveyors within 60 days of survey was 46% in fiscal year 2016, up from 38% and 39%, respectively, in the two preceding fiscal years.

Most of those disparities were in infection control and physical environment, says the report. CMS is particularly concerned that AOs are missing key Life Safety Code® (LSC) deficiencies, with fire and smoke barriers, sprinkler systems, electrical systems, hazardous areas, and means of egress taking the top five categories for missed problems in fire safety at hospitals.

Hospitals already face funding challenges to meet fire code requirements after CMS finally adopted the 2012 LSC, and it will get even worse as survey scrutiny increases, predicts Ernest E. Allen, a former TJC surveyor and current consultant and patient safety executive with The Doctor’s Company in Columbus, Ohio.

This is on top of TJC’s response to criticism in the report released last year. TJC began pushing its own surveyors to cite every life safety deficiency, no matter how small, Allen says.

More on this topic can be found on

Nurses Report Gaps in Quality and Safety Competencies Based on Education

By Jennifer Thew- 

While quality and safety measures are key to delivering excellent nursing care, new graduate nurses are not always adequately prepared in these areas, reports a new study by researchers at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing.

Educational preparation appears to be tied quality and safety competencies. The study found there is a growing gap in preparedness in quality and safety competencies between new nurses with associate and bachelor’s degrees. Nurses with BSN degrees report they are “very prepared” in more quality and safety measures than their ADN peers.

“Understanding the mechanisms influencing the association between educational level of nurses and patient outcomes is important because it provides an opportunity to intervene through changes in accreditation, licensing, and curriculum,” Maja Djukic, PhD, RN, associate professor at NYU Meyers and the study’s lead author, says in a news release.

Nurses With BSNs More Prepared

For the study, the researchers examined quality and safety preparedness in two groups of new nurses who graduated with either associate or bachelor’s degrees in 2007 to 2008 and 2014 to 2015. They surveyed more than a thousand new nurses (324 graduated between 2007 to 2008 and 803 graduated between 2014 to 2015).

The nurses were asked how prepared they felt about different quality improvement and safety topics. The responses of nurses with ADNs and BSNs were analyzed for differences.

There were significant improvements across key quality and safety competencies for new nurses from 2007 to 2015, however, the number of preparedness gaps between BSN and ADN graduates more than doubled during this time.

In the 2007 to 2008 cohort, nurses with BSNs reported being significantly better prepared than those with ADNs five of 16 topics:

  • Evidence-based practice
  • Data analysis
  • Use of quality improvement data analysis and project monitoring tools
  • Measuring resulting changes from implemented improvements
  • Repeating four quality improvement steps until the desired outcome is achieved

Of the 2014 to 2015 graduates, those with BSNs reported being significantly better prepared than those with ADNs in 12 of 16 topics:

  • The same five topics as the earlier cohort
  • Data collection
  • Flowcharting
  • Project implementation
  • Measuring current performance
  • Assessing gaps in current practice
  • Applying tools and methods to improve performance
  • Monitoring sustainability of changes

How to Affect Change

“The evidence linking better outcomes to a higher percentage of baccalaureate-prepared nurses has been growing. However, our data reveal a potential underlying mechanism—the quality and safety education gap—which might be influencing the relationship between more education and better care,” Djukic, says.

Laws and organizational policies encouraging or requiring bachelor’s degrees for all nurses could close quality and safety education gaps, note the researchers.

New York was recently the first state to pass a law, often called the BSN in 10, requiring new nurses to obtain their bachelor’s degree within 10 years of initial licensure.

Additionally, nurse leaders and employers can affect change by:

  • Preferentially hiring nurses with BSNs
  • Requiring a percentage of the nurse workforce to have BSNs
  • Requiring nurses with ADNs to obtain a bachelor’s degree within a certain timeframe as a condition of maintaining employment

Patient Outcomes No Better For Joint Commission–Accredited Hospitals Than Peers

By John Commins

Hospitals that earn certification by independent accreditors, such as The Joint Commission, have no better outcomes than hospitals reviewed by a state survey agency, according to a new report in the BMJ.

“Furthermore, we found that accreditation by The Joint Commission, which is the most common form of hospital accreditation, was not associated with better patient outcomes than other lesser known, independent accrediting agencies,” the study concluded.

Researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health compared 4,400 hospitals across the United States, of which 3,337 were accredited, including 2,847 by The Joint Commission, and 1,063 hospitals that underwent state-based reviews between 2014 and 2017.

The study reviewed more than 4.2 million Medicare inpatient records for people ages 65 and older who were admitted for 15 common medical and six common surgical conditions, and respondents to the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Provider and Systems survey.

“Hospital accreditation by independent organizations is not associated with lower mortality, and is only slightly associated with reduced readmission rates for the 15 common medical conditions selected in this study,” the study said.

Among the findings:

  • Thirty-day readmissions for The Joint Commission-accredited hospitals were 0.4% lower than those at hospitals that were reviewed by state survey agencies, which the researchers called “not statistically significant lower rates.”
  • Mortality rates for the six surgical conditions were “nearly identical,” and “no statistically significant differences were seen in 30-day mortality or readmission rates (for both the medical or surgical conditions) between The Joint Commission-accredited hospitals, and hospitals rated by other independent accreditors.
  • Readmissions for the 15 medical conditions “were significantly lower at accredited hospitals than at state survey hospitals (22.4% v 23.2%, 0.8% (0.4% to 1.3%), but did not differ for the surgical conditions (15.9% v 15.6%, 0.3% (−1.2% to 1.6%), the study found.
  • Patient experience scores were modestly better at state survey hospitals than at accredited hospitals. Among accredited hospitals, The Joint Commission did not have significantly different patient experience scores compared to other independent organizations.

While not the only hospital accrediting entity in the United States, the study authors note that private, not-for-profit The Joint Commission plays an outsized role, and controls more than 80% of the accreditation market as the accrediting agency of choice for nearly all major hospital systems.

“There was no evidence in this study to indicate that patients choosing a hospital accredited by The Joint Commission confer any healthcare benefits over choosing a hospital accredited by another independent accrediting organization,” the study concluded.

The Joint Commission could not immediately be reached Friday morning for comment.

Joint Commission Unveils New Emergency Management Checklist

On October 10, Hurricane Michael made landfall in Florida, damaging at least two hospitals so badly they were forced to evacuate. On the same day, The Joint Commission (TJC) published a new Emergency Management Health Care Environment Checklist on its website, which helps healthcare organizations reopening their facilities after a disaster.

While the timing of these two events were coincidental, providers should to take time to go over the checklist and their emergency plans in general.

A TJC workgroup developed the checklist at the request of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response. It aligns with the accreditor’s Emergency Management standards, covers both clinical and environmental issues, and addresses crucial post-disaster elements that need addressing before reopening. It should be noted that the checklist isn’t hurricane-specific.

Jim Kendig, TJC’s field director of Life Safety Code surveyors, says it’s critical that hospitals customize the checklist for their needs by examining the relationships they establish in the community, and at the regional and state levels.

“For example, in Florida, a county Office of Emergency Management met with utilities and other emergency support functions to determine hospitals and PSAPS [public safety answering points] are the first to receive power restoration,” he says. “Establishing an unidentified victims process is also a good start, as it the ability to share that information within an hour of a disaster event.”

“The Joint Commission’s Emergency Management Committee continues meeting with organizations after disaster events to glean important information to share with the field through our Environment of Care News and ongoing communications,” he adds. “This also give us the opportunity to ensure that our standards and elements of performance are effective and contemporary.”

Revisions deeming EPs

Starting January 1, five revisions to The Joint Commission’s Elements of Performance (EP) will go into effect. The revisions deal with the deeming in hospitals and critical access hospitals. The changes are a result of CMS’ review of The Joint Commission’s EP Review Project for the Leadership (LD) chapter.

Some of the changes include specifying that if hospitals provide emergency services that they comply with 42 CFR 482.55 and  that operating rooms have available a communications system that can summon staff outside the OR.

The affected EPs are:

• EC.02.03.01 EP 9

• LD.01.03.01 EP 13 (hospitals only)

• LD.04.03.01 EP 2

• LS.01.01.01 EP 1

• PC.02.02.03 EP 7 (critical access hospitals only)

• PC.03.01.01 EPs 5 and 8

You can read the prepublication changes to hospital and critical access hospitals here.

Accreditation Book Survey 2019

We’re working on books for 2019 and like to hear from you. Please take this short survey and let us know what safety topics or updates you’d like us to write about! https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/QTRWX8H