Healthcare Business News
Dr. Mark Chassin, president and CEO of Joint Commission

Joint Commission's 'Top Performer' list sees 77% increase

By Andis Robeznieks
Posted: October 30, 2013 - 5:00 pm ET

The number of hospitals achieving Joint Commission “Top Performer” status has risen significantly over the past three years, though there may be a dropoff next year when the organization raises its standards for institutions earning that distinction.

The 1,099 hospitals making this year's list were required to receive a composite score of 95% or above for all accountability measures they reported in 2012. They also had to score at least 95% on all measures associated with 30 or more patient cases. Of the four measure sets they reported, at least one set had to have a composite score of 95% or above and have an individual score of 95% or above for each measure in the set.

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This year's total of 1,099 represents one third of the Joint Commission's roster of accredited hospitals and a 77% increase from last year's total of 620 top performers and a 171% increase from the 2011 list, which included 405 hospitals.

Dr. Mark Chassin, president and CEO of the Oakbrook Terrace, Ill-based Joint Commission, said during a news conference that a score of 95% meant that, in 95 of 100 instances, hospitals “did the right thing” by providing the right test, treatment or drug at the right time such as providing heart attack patients with an aspirin upon arrival. In 2012, the 3,300 Joint Commission-accredited hospitals had 18.3 million opportunities to do the right thing and did so 97.6% of the time, Chassin reported.

“Setting sights high works,” he said.

This year's report involves performance on 40 individual measures identified as having the greatest positive impact on patient outcomes when improvement is shown. The measures cover areas such as heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia and surgical care.

The measures are grouped into nine sets and hospitals are required to submit to the Joint Commission results from the four sets most appropriate to their patient population. Next year, they will be required to submit results from six measure sets and all institutions with more than 1,100 births annually will have to include measures from the perinatal care set.

“More than ever, hospitals are concentrating on what counts,” Chassin said, adding that “these results are more than numbers,” and represent lives saved and people living healthier—which results in lower overall healthcare costs.

In previous years, it was noted that some well-known institutions—including many academic medical centers—did not make the Top Performer list. Chassin was joined at the news conference by Dr. Peter Pronovost, senior vice president for patient safety and quality for Johns Hopkins Medicine and director of Hopkins' Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality.

He said that for the first time, three Johns Hopkins hospitals made the list. Achieving that required communicating clear goals, transparently reporting on performance and universally committing to “accountability from the board to the bedside.”

Chassin reported that 24 academic medical centers made the list this year, representing six times as many academic centers compared with those that made it the last two years.

On the second page of the Top Performer report is a memorial tribute to Jerod Loeb, the Joint Commission's executive vice president for quality and measurement, who died from prostate cancer Oct. 9.

Chassin began the conference by describing Loeb as the “driving force” and single-most person responsible for the first national standardized hospital performance measures. Chassin called the measures used in the Top Performer program “just one of the many legacies Jerod has left us.” Pronovost called Loeb “a great innovator in this field.”

Follow Andis Robeznieks on Twitter: @MHARobeznieks

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