Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) Essay

Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO)


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            Virtually anyone can agree that the processes which were involved in the establishment of the new U.S. Healthcare Bill were not an easy task. Additionally, the inspection of the Healthcare provision in the U.S. hospitals has been very vital, especially with the growing numbers of Medical professionals leaving the U.S. to greener pastures. The Healthcare Industry has come a long way, which would not be possible if organizations like the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) were not present. The organization’s scope of authority has developed over the years since 1910. It is organized, and very effective in the provision of services, and has positive effects on the Healthcare Industry.

History of JCAHO

 The formation of JCAHO traces back to 1910, when Mr. Ernest Codman, the Managing Director at that time stated that the introduction of JCAHO proposed the “end result system of hospital standardization” (Joint Commission, 2009). This system would be beneficial as all patients would be tracked by the hospital administration so as to ensure whether they had gotten the right treatment. The hospital would be responsible for determining the reasons for the treatment failure, just in case it failed. This would be a necessary measure so as to reduce the occurrence of similar incidences in the future (Joint Commission, 2009).

Between 1913 and 1926, several changes were enacted in the commission. The managing director issued an order that the organization had to establish its own objectives and rules. Additionally, the officials of the commission would embark on an exercise which was meant to ascertain that all hospitals met the requirements stipulated by the commission. Therefore, the American College of Surgeons (ACS) was founded so as to come up with the objectives. Minimum requirements were written down, which filled one page, and after the hospital inspection, only eighty nine of the possible six hundred and ninety two hospitals fulfilled all the conditions. An eighteen page manual was also produced (Joint Commission, 2009).

Between 1950 and 1960, several amalgamations took place. The American Hospital Association (AHA), The American College of Physicians (ACP), The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) and The American Medical Association (AMA) joined with the JCAHO. In the 1960’s, the commissions requirements were passed by the U.S. Congress, that “All hospitals accredited by JCAHO were deemed to be in compliance with most of the Medicare Conditions of Participation for Hospitals and, thus, able to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs” (Joint Commission, 2009).

Between 1970s and 1980s, the JCAHO standards of operation were recast so as to bring out the best results which could be achieved. Psychiatric facilities were established during this period, as well as community health and substance abuse programs. Physicians, ambulatory organizations and registered nurses joined the JCAHO.1980s to 1990s marked a period where the organization, which was previously referred to as JCAH, became JCAHO in 1987. Between 1990s and 2000, JCAHO spread to other states liken Chicago. Smoking in hospitals was prohibited, and effective home –based care centers were accepted. Laptop technology was introduced during the hospital surveys, and the commission launched its website. Since its establishment, the commission has been very instrumental, even in the recent U.S. Healthcare Reform Bill (Joint Commission, 1999).

Source and Scope of its authority

 JCAHO receives full support from the U.S. state and federal governments. It was passed by the U.S. Congress, and has always been very instrumental in the Healthcare Industry as stated by the U.S. Federal and State governments. JCAHO has over one thousand, five hundred organizations under its supervision, where it ensures that the set standards for certification are met in accordance with the Medicare Act of 1965. JCAHO has the authority of sensitizing the public with medical treatment knowledge. It performs a critical examination of the hospitals every three years, in over forty five regions of healthcare performance (Associated Content, 2010).

Structure of JCAHO

JCAHO is an independent, non- profit organization, which is the leading organization as far as accreditation of hospitals, is concerned. It is the most authoritative figure on all hospital compliance rules and accreditation of public and health safety. This means that all hospitals must seek its accreditation in order to operate (Associated Content, 2010).

Mr. Mark R. Chassin (M.D., M.P.P., M.P.H.), is the current JCAHO president. The commission also has a taskforce which is responsible for examining all hospitals in the U.S. This is in relation to the medical staff standards. A board is also appointed to oversee its day to day activities in the healthcare industry. It is accredited by the International Society of Health care in the world. JCAHO also has a Sentinel Event Alert focus on many medical issues. Some of these issues include prevention of medication errors on pediatrics, ensuring that the hospitals offer medical safety to all patients, implementing converging technologies and health information and also taking extreme inspections on anticoagulant therapy. JCAHO is a publisher of very many policy papers, including the ‘Development of a National Performance measurement Data Strategy’ and ‘Guiding Principles for the Development of the Hospital for the Future.’ Brochures published by the commission include ‘Understanding Your Caregivers’ and ‘What You Should Know about Pain Management.’ These publications have been of great help to the U.S. citizens, federal and state officials (Joint Commissions, 2009).

JCAHO’s Day to Day Responsibilities

 The Commission has a safety committee which is entitled for interacting with the medical staff committees in hospitals .They go over the products that are used in the hospitals so as to ascertain whether they are passed by the Food and Drugs Act in the U.S. If the committee discovers that there are some products which are not very healthy for the patients, they are usually recalled. They also require the medical staff to get information directly from the patients so as to get the real situations at hand (JCAHO, 2010).

The committee is also responsible for dealing with the families of the patients. This is because organization ethics and patients’ rights are some of the organization’s standards. Therefore, it is the duty of the organization to ensure that the families of these patients are informed about the outcomes of all care, whether unanticipated or not (JCAHO, 2010).

The commission stresses on the importance of keeping dates regarding the patients’ therapies or treatments. Management of the patients’ information is very important so as to trace the history of the illnesses of the patients, and their progress too. This process focuses on the aggregation of safety-related information and data. The commission always stresses on the importance of the commission to address effective communication among all healthcare providers (JCAHO, 2010).

             JCAHO is also entitled with ensuring that the medical staff emphasizes on the safety of the patients, with specific attention to Continuum of Care, Human Resources Management and Education. For instance, the Human Resource Management requires that training and education support, and other in service programs should be provided to the patients (JCAHO, 2010).

            JCAHO is also responsible of the improvement of the performance of the medical organizations. It stresses on the importance of meeting all the stipulated aims and goals so as to ensure that there is an effective environment for all the patients (JCAHO, 2010). Generally, JCAHO has always been cautious in dealing with patient safety issues like implementing patient safety programs, responding to adverse events whenever they occurred, preventing accidental harm through redesign and prospective analysis of all systems of vulnerable patients. These include dispensing, ordering and preparation of medication. The organization also ensures that the patients are well aware of the care that is provided to all patients (JCAHO, 2010).

 Virtually fifty percent of the standards set by JCAHO are more related to the safety of the patients. They address issues like infection control, transfusions, seclusion, staff competence and staffing, medical equipment, security, emergency, management, fire safety, surgery and anesthesia. The commission has over the years outlined additional standards to all Healthcare sectors in the U.S. These were in relation to the organizations which provided long term and behavioral care. Ambulatory and home care organizations are also other activities that are directed by JCAHO. They ensure that there are adequate ambulance vehicles to transport patients in critical conditions. Additionally, they have offered ways in which home care can be efficient, especially to terminally ill patients (JCAHO, 2010).

Effects on the Healthcare Industry

 JCAHO has had a positive impact on the welfare of the American citizens. In 2008, JCAHO’s Report on Quality and Safety published in November 2008 revealed that over a six year period, the American hospitals had greatly improved in terms of quality of the patients. A survey conducted among a section of patients in the U.S. hospitals revealed that they were satisfied with the conditions exposed to them in the hospitals. They always got good medication, and even those on home based care never lacked medication, and the doctors made constant visits to their homes. Only a small percentage was opposed to JCAHO’s work (Joint Commission, 2009).

JCAHO provides the U.S. citizens with knowledge related to seeking medical treatment. It surveys hospitals randomly in a span of three years, in over forty five areas of performance in the healthcare industry. Therefore, it has proved to be the best method for providing the public with the regulatory standards and the compliance of the hospitals in the U.S. JCAHO has very many auditing processes of the healthcare industry financial sector, and therefore benefits the financial planners as far as the healthcare is concerned (Associated Content, 2010).

 Actual example of JCAHO’s duties

In 2006, all hospital owners had a task to undertake as decreed by JCAHO. Those who owned hospitals which had more than two hundred beds were required to fit in disaster management plans. JCAHO came up with this plan for larger hospitals. JCAHO officials inspected these hospitals, whether they had enough facilities to cater for disastrous incidences. They were also out to understand whether the hospital staff would understand their specific roles in such scenarios. This is because there were so many disastrous events in the world, for instance, terrorist attacks, which caught the healthcare industry unawares. Therefore, most patients ended up receiving inadequate treatment. Therefore, this is an actual example of JCAHO’s influential activities in the Healthcare industry. Since this period, the U.S. hospitals, especially the large ones are always armed just incase there are disastrous occurrences (Find Articles, 2007).


If a nation is healthy, all its other sectors will follow suit. It is obvious that JCAHO has made a very positive impact in the healthcare industry of the U.S. If it were not for its regulatory measures, the U.S. citizens would be receiving very poor health services, and the economy would be affected directly and indirectly. Therefore, JCAHO has played a great role to ensure healthcare givers and facilities are at check, therefore improving the wellbeing of the citizens.


Associated Content. (2010). An overview of the JCAHO Accreditation program. Retrieved from


Find Articles. (2006). JCAHO makes changes to disaster plan review: change affects larger

            hospitals. Retrieved from


JCAHO. (2010).Sentinel events and alerts. Retrieved from

Joint Commission. (2009).A journey through the history of the Joint Commission. Retrieved