Three leading figures in the outcomes measurement race, including the president of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, Dennis O'Leary, M.D., addressed a special meeting sponsored by the Healthcare Association of New York State late last month, and a spokeswoman for those who attended said the effort left room for improvement.
"They left us with mixed feelings about the value of what they do for our members and of the interaction among their organizations," said Carolyn Scanlan, HANYS' executive vice president.
In fact, a special committee of hospital quality-assurance experts, formed by HANYS earlier this year, intends to summarize the meeting proceedings and make recommendations to the HANYS board this fall on what to do next.
Ms. Scanlan declined to elaborate on what the committee may recommend to the HANYS board, but, she said, "maintaining the status quo is not something we're going to be satisfied with."
Ms. Scanlan said it was unlikely the committee would recommend that HANYS orchestrate a mass withdrawal of its 210 hospital members from the JCAHO's accreditation program.
In addition to Dr. O'Leary, Margaret O'Kane, president of the National Committee for Quality Assurance, and Mark Chassin, M.D., the health commissioner for New York state, spoke at the HANYS meeting and fielded questions from the approximately 200 hospital executives in attendance. The July 29 meeting in New York City was closed to the public.
The meeting is part of a HANYS initiative to review its member hospitals' accreditation, licensure and data reporting needs (April 25, p. 22).
Like many hospitals across the country, New York facilities are becoming anxious about the costly, and often duplicative, data-reporting requirements that public and private groups are placing on them, Ms. Scanlan said.
For example, the JCAHO has started a provider network accreditation program that's viewed by many as a competitor to NCQA's existing managed-care accreditation program. And in December 1988, the state of New York stopped accepting JCAHO accreditation in lieu of state inspections for licensure purposes, essentially forcing hospitals to undergo both state inspections and accreditation surveys.
Ms. Scanlan said the hospital executives who attended last month's meeting saw little evidence that the three parties are seriously coordinating their activities, although the heads of each have stated their desire to work together.