The Joint Commission will handle the approval process for clinical labs run by the Veteran Affairs Department, the accreditation organization announced Monday.
The Veterans Health Administration's moderate and high-complexity clinical labs at VA medical centers and community-based outpatient clinics will be accredited every two years under the arrangement. That includes educating administrators and clinicians about the accreditation process, carrying out on-site and post-survey reviews, monitoring activities, and data and measurement.
"As the only accrediting body that accredits and certifies across the continuum of care, we are very pleased to collaborate with the VA on accreditation and quality-improvement opportunities at its laboratories," Joint Commission CEO Dr. Mark Chassin said in a statement. "It is critical that VA laboratories provide safe and high-quality care as they play their vital role in the healthcare of so many veterans and their families across the country."
The arrangement is effective Sept. 15.
The Joint Commission accredits about 80% of the nation's hospitals but has come under fire in recent years for its business practices, including the relationship between its accrediting and consulting arms, leading some experts to caution about a conflict of interest. There's also some evidence that its processes may not significantly improve quality.
CMS can approve accreditation organizations for up to six years, but in June only granted the Joint Commission two years for hospitals, citing "concerns" related to its surveyor performance and comparability of the agency's survey process.