Joint Commission Is an Independent Non-Profit Making Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Joint Commission is an independent, non-profit making and a private sector organization in the United States which generates a huge financial surplus annually. The organization operates various accreditation programs for a particular fee to subscriber hospitals and other health care organizations in America. Currently, the Joint Commission accredits and certifies over 19,000 health care programs and organizations in the United States. The accreditation and certification of this organization is recognized throughout the country as a symbol of quality representing an organization's commitment to attain certain standards ("About the Joint Commission" par, 1). The organization also provides certification to over 1000 disease specific care programs, basic stroke centers and health care staffing services. Currently, the Joint Commission is America's oldest and largest organization that sets standards and offer accreditation programs in the health care sector ("Joint Commission FAQ Page" par, 1).

Mission of the Joint Commission:

The declared mission of the Joint Commission is to constantly improve health care for the public in conjunction with other stakeholders. The organization seeks to accomplish this through evaluating health care organizations and stimulating them to shine in providing safe and effective health care services with the highest quality and value. The Joint Commission has proven to be successful in the accomplishment of its mission since it continues to improve the impact that performance procedures have on developing health services to patients in America's hospitals ("Improving America's Hospitals," p. 3).

The success of the Joint Commission's mission is also on the fact that accreditation is helpful in ensuring that America's critical access hospitals in rural healthcare provide high-quality care. The organization measures a hospital against a reliable and objective set of standards in areas like patient evaluation and care, patients' rights, clinical ethics, information management, organizational leadership and human resources. The Joint Commission offer substantially different accreditation rates between rural and urban hospitals since cost is a critical factor and the limited resources of critical access hospitals (Lutfiyya et al., p. 112).

Through the National Patient Safety Goals, the purpose of the Joint Commission is to support specific improvements in patient safety and assist accredited health organizations to address specific issues concerning patient safety ("Facts About" p. 1). Similar to most of the accreditation programs of the Joint Commission, the National Patient safety Goals are annually updated and supervised by an expert panel. The National Patient Safety Goals usually highlight the challenging areas in health care, provide evidence and expert-based solutions to these challenges. Consequently, the purpose of the Joint Commission is to promote and enforce major changes in patient safety in America's history.

History of the Joint Commission:

The Joint Commission was founded in 1951 after the American College of Surgeons joined with other stakeholders in America's health care sector to create an organization whose main purpose was to offer voluntary accreditation ("The Joint Commission History," p. 1). The organization began providing accreditation to America's hospitals in January 1953 after the American College of Surgeons officially transferred its Hospital Standardization Program. Following the commencement of its operations, Edwin Crosby became the first director of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals (JCAHO).

Some major developments in the organization occurred in 1964 and 1966 when it started to charge for surveys and began long-term care accreditation respectively. JCAHO began accreditation for the ambulatory health care facilities in 1975 following the establishment of the Accreditation Council for Ambulatory Health Care. As the organization expanded its scope of activities from time to time, it changed its name to Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare in 1987 to reflect the change. It was also during this period that the Agenda for Change was established and initiatives for accreditation procedures on actual organization performance.

The Joint Commission released the first organization-specific performance reports in December 1994 for health care organizations that were surveyed since the beginning of that year. These reports provided information to the public regarding the performance of health care organizations that which accredited by the Joint Commission. In the subsequent year, the Joint Commission began accreditation for freestanding laboratories and launches laptop technology for hospital surveys in 1996.

The organization's mission statement was revised in 1999 to explicitly reference patient safety in addition to the approval for hospice deemed status by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in the same year. In 2000, the Joint Commission established standards and a survey procedure for health care organizations that offer foster care services. As part of its celebrations of the 50th anniversary in 2001, the organization established new standards on patient safety and medical/health care error reduction.

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) underwent a major rebranding in 2007 which included simplifying its name to The Joint Commission (TJC) and changing its logo and tag line. These were part of the overall process of making the name easier to remember and re-position the organization to continue responding to the increasing needs of organizations that seek for fee-based accreditation. Currently, TJC accredits and certifies over 19,000 hospitals and other health care organizations in America.

Pros of the Joint Commission:

As one of the major organization in the American-based healthcare accreditation organizations that operate within the United States, the Joint Commission has several advantages including:

Influence on Improving Care:

The Joint Commission continues to have a significant influence on improving health care in America since it emphasizes on patient safety and quality of care. The organization's standards helps in organizing and strengthening patient safety measures as well as strengthening community confidence in the safety and quality of treatment, care and services ("Facts About the Joint Commission," p. 1). Through its certification programs, the Joint Commission improves the quality of patient care by lessening differences in clinical procedures.

Improves the Standards of Care:

In absence of an accreditation body the assurance to probable patients of the achievement of certain programs by hospitals and other health care organizations, the quality of patient care of some health care programs would fail. Consequently, through its role as a pseudo-regulatory organization that regulates on public opinion basis, the Joint Commission improves the overall standards of patient care.

Benchmarking Nationally:

One of the major advantages of the Joint Commission is that it assists in establishing national standards for health care providers. This is because of the fact that it's the oldest and largest organization that sets standards and provides accreditation in America's health care sector. Additionally, this is due to the fact that accreditation and certification by the organization requires the health care providers to attain certain criteria regarding patient care and facility maintenance. As a result, the accreditation and certification by the Joint Commission boosts patients' confidence that the program meets the primary level of quality and competence (Wolfe par, 2).

Cons of the Joint Commission:

Regardless of its numerous advantages, the Joint Commission also has some disadvantages including & #8230;


For many health care providers, preparing for a survey by the organization can be a very challenging and complex process ("Healthcare-Requirements Addressed" par, 2). Basically, a hospital must be totally familiar with the existing standards, evaluate existing processes and policies as well as be ready to improve areas that are not in compliance. The respective hospital is required to be in compliance with the standards at least four months before the preliminary survey. Furthermore, the hospital should be in compliance with relevant standards during the complete period of accreditation. This is not only a challenging process but it also involves a lot of paperwork since surveyors will seek a complete three-year implementation process for various standard-related issues.


According to reports from the Washington Post, the Joint Commission takes approximately $113 million in annual revenue, most of which comes from fees it charges health care providers. For instance, the organization collected $165 million in revenue in 2008 mainly from fees it charged health care organization in America. These huge costs are eventually passed on to patients mainly in the form of higher fees resulting in health care becoming more expensive and less affordable.


While the organization states that its standards for accreditation and certification for health care providers are extremely thorough, it has been considered to be too lenient especially by critics. This is due to the fact that the Joint Commission accredits or certifies almost every hospital that it inspects i.e. approximately 99%. Apart from laboratories, all facilities are only subject to a single inspection every three years.

Future of Joint Commission in Today's Healthcare System:

The Joint Commission will continue to be a major player in America's healthcare system because of the need to ensure that hospitals make changes in their delivery of high-quality care to patients and survive the competitiveness of today's marketplace (Sounart par, 2). The organization will continue to update its accreditation and certification standards because of the need for hospitals to meet high public expectations in the future. These standards will also be updated from time to time because of the significance of hospital-based care in the future and the ongoing challenging…

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