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The Who, What, When, Where and Why of JCAHO – The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations

For the past nine years, I have been the National Association of Institutional Linen Management ((NAILM) representative to the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) Professional Liaison Group. I am pleased to report on what the JCAHO represents to healthcare and to further explore how textile care and environmental care operations can prepare for surveys and better yet provide the best healthcare support service possible.

To date, NAILM has been the only active participant representing laundry organizations to the JCAHO. As a result, NAILM has been represented on numerous JCAHO Advisory Groups, and JCAHO’s reference library - what surveyors use when preparing for a survey – has NAILM publications and NAILM’s monthly magazine. I encourage other professional organizations to participate with the JCAHO.

The Five W’s of JCAHO
The JCAHO is the nation’s predominant standard setting and accrediting body in health care. They evaluate and accredit about 19,000 health care organizations and programs within the United States. They are also extensively involved internationally. Established in 1951, the organization has developed state of the art, professionally based standards and evaluated the compliance of healthcare organizations against constantly changing benchmarks.

JCAHO’s mission is to continuously improve the safety and quality of care provided to the public through the provision of healthcare accreditation and related services that support performance improvement in health care organizations.

Accreditation by the JCAHO is recognized nationally and internationally as a symbol of quality and that accreditation certifies that a specific organization meets or exceeds JCAHO standards. To earn and maintain accreditation, an organization must stand the rigors by a JCAHO survey team at least every three (3) years. Laboratories must be surveyed a minimum of every two (2) years.

JCAHO has many accreditation services including:
· General, psychiatric, children’s and rehabilitation hospitals,
· Healthcare Networks and Preferred Provider networks
· Home Care organizations and durable medical equipment services
· Nursing Homes and other Long Term facilities
· Assisted Living services
· Behavioral Health Care Organizations
· Ambulatory Care Providers
· Clinical Labs

JCAHO standards address an organizational level of performance in key areas, such as patient rights, and the standards focus not only on what the organization has, but what the organization accomplishes. The JCAHO develops their standards in consultation with health care experts, providers and consumers. These standards set forth performance requirements andexpectations for most activities that affect patient care.

According to the JCAHO, organizations seek accreditation because the JCAHO
· Assist organizations in improving their quality of care
· May be used to meet certain Medicare certification requirements
· Enhances public confidence
· Provides a staff educational tool
· Enhances Medical Staff recruitment
· Expedites third party payments
· Fulfills many state license requirements
· Enhances access to managed care contracts
· May favorably influence bond ratings and access to financial markets

I had the opportunity in 1996 to view the primary performance management system of the accreditation process called ORYX – a reporting mechanism for accreditation which is also used to monitor the results of that accreditation yearly. The system became active in 1997 for hospitals, long term care, networks, home care, behavioral care and labs. The ORYX reporting system is still being developed for ambulatory care.

In addition to offering accreditation the JCAHO sponsors a variety of educational programs and provides an extensive list ofpublications for health care managers. The national conference for JCAHO this year will focus on Patient Safety and Quality of Care. There are numerous other seminars and conferences that address every standard component to date.

Based in Chicago, the JCAHO is governed by a 28 member Board of Commissioners which includes nurses, physicians,consumers, medical directors, administrators, providers, employers, labor representatives, planners, quality experts, health insurance administrators and educators. Its board of commissioners brings countless years of experience and expertise in the health care, business sector. JCAHO corporate members include the American College of Physicians, American Society of Internal Medicine, the American College of Surgeons, the American Dental Association, the American Hospital Association and the American Medical Association.

H. Ken Tyler retired from the Department of Veterans Affairs in October 2000 after serving over 35 years with the Federal Government. He also retired from the US Marine Corps after 27 years of service. In both capacities Tyler managed laundry, textile and uniform programs. During his tenure with the VA, Tyler managed the modernization of over 60 facilities costing over $200 million. During his tenure with the US Marine Corps, Tyler managed 7 laundry facilities and 37 fleet support activities. He developed the laundry system acquisition approach, which was utilized by both federal entities. Currently, Tyler is active with several professional organizations. He is a member of the Board of Directors for NAILM, and an active member of Textile Rental Services of America, American Reusable Textile Association, Retired Marine Corps Officer’s Assn. and the Leadership VA Alumni Society.

 

Quick Rinse - News From Around The World

Laundry to Reduce Air Emmissions and Fund Cleaner Burning Wood Stove Purchases

BOSTON, Mass. — Alltex Uniform Rental Service, an industrial laundry in Manchester, N.H. has agreed to settle claims by the US Environmental Protection Agency that it violated the Clean Air Act by paying a civil penalty of $65,000. They will also be undertaking a Supplemental Environmental Project with a value of at least $220,000 to replace old, polluting wood stoves in southern New Hampshire with new, cleaner models. Additionally, the company will install equipment at its facility to remove approximately 20 tons per year of emissions of volatile organic compounds (“VOCs”). G&K Services is the parent company of Alltex Uniform Rental Service Inc. The EPA action grew out of an EPA inspection of the facility in July 2008.