Pressure from hospitals and the American Hospital Association has forced the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations to back off on its controversial star rating system for hospitals, MODERN HEALTHCARE has learned.
Cathy Barry-Ipema, the JCAHO's communications director, confirmed late last week that the JCAHO has changed its plans for disclosing hospital-specific accreditation data to the public, but she declined to give details.
"We never said we were going with the star system," Ms. Barry-Ipema said. "We always said it was one of many formats being considered."
However, the JCAHO's Task Force on Confidentiality and Disclosure Issues unanimously endorsed the star rating system in late July after considering a range of options. Final approval of that recommendation from the JCAHO board was anticipated at its Sept. 23 meeting (Aug. 1, p. 6).
The JCAHO task force approved the system after testing a number of disclosure formats with focus groups of hospital representatives, physicians, consumers and payers.
Under the proposed star system, the JCAHO would award hospitals up to five stars based on their level of compliance with accreditation standards. The JCAHO would release a hospital's star rating on request along with a detailed explanation of how a hospital's stars were awarded or taken away.
The star format was designed to satisfy a May 1993 decision by the JCAHO board to begin releasing hospital-specific accreditation data to the public by this fall.
But hospital opposition has been building since MODERN HEALTHCARE disclosed the planned use of the star system last month (Aug. 1, p. 6).