Dennis O'Leary, M.D., president of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, has hired a former American Hospital Association executive with a background in state hospital association relations to become his special assistant, MODERN HEALTHCARE has learned.
The Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.-based agency confirmed that Susan Frankel has been appointed to the newly created post and issued a statement last week describing her job responsibilities as assistant to the JCAHO president.
The disclosure follows last month's vote of confidence in Dr. O'Leary's leadership of the JCAHO by the organization's 28-member board (May 30, p. 3). The vote occurred during a period of growing criticism of the JCAHO's operations and policies by many hospitals and hospital organizations. And some have accused the JCAHO of being unresponsive to their concerns.
Such criticism has forced Dr. O'Leary and other JCAHO executives to spend additional time making personal visits to many groups, including state hospital associations, to quell the unrest. For example, Dr. O'Leary is scheduled to meet later this month with the administrators of rural Tennessee hospitals who have expressed concerns over accreditation costs (June 6, p. 17).
In a written statement, Dr. O'Leary said, "We've added the position (assistant to the president) because we're doing more things, talking to more people, and at the same time, trying to provide more personal service and be more accessible to the organizations and individuals interested in what the Joint Commission is doing."
As Dr. O'Leary's assistant, Ms. Frankel will help develop position papers on healthcare quality issues; research, analyze and make recommendations on healthcare quality issues; assist in the development of long-range business goals; and monitor the progress of various JCAHO projects.
The JCAHO declined to disclose Ms. Frankel's salary. She started her new job May 31.
Most recently, Ms. Frankel, 52, was the account services director for a Deerfield, Ill.-based marketing and communications consulting firm.
Ms. Frankel previously was the director of the AHA's division of allied association and regional office services. However, the AHA eliminated her position in September 1992, when it began restructuring its Chicago operations (Sept. 7, 1992, p. 2).