A proposal to raise 1996 survey fees 3% has been made by the staff of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.
The fee-increase proposal was revealed during a discussion of concerns by hospital executives about the cost and value of the JCAHO's survey process.
The discussion was part of an update on JCAHO efforts to improve its performance held at the American Hospital Association's annual convention in San Francisco last week. The proposal was revealed in response to a question about fee-increase rumors posed from the audience by Kathleen Murray, chief operating officer of Chicago's Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
Panel member Reginald Ballantyne, president and chief executive officer of PMH Health Resources in Phoenix, called the matter "at the moment a recommendation." He said the committee of AHA commissioners to the JCAHO, which he chairs, discussed the proposal and "absent some other indicators, we are not inclined to (endorse the in- crease) at this time." A fee increase would have to win approval of the 28-member JCAHO board of commissioners.
Late last week, a commission advisory panel decided not to recommend a 3% fee increase, a JCAHO spokeswoman said. But she declined to say whether the group had endorsed a higher or lower increase or no increase at all.
William Kridelbaugh, M.D., JCAHO chairman, told the AHA convention session there was no fee increase in 1995, and the 6% surcharge added to accreditation fees in 1993 would expire at the end of this year. "In 1996, on the acute-care side, even if the fee increase were in effect the overall charge would be less than three years ago," he said.
During the discussion, Jonathan Lord, M.D., the AHA's liaison to the JCAHO, pointed out that the question of cost and value is one of the "major dissatisfiers" among AHA members.
He described a recently completed assessment of JCAHO activities based on questionnaires mailed in mid-June to 666 hospitals that underwent accreditation surveys by the JCAHO from Jan. 1 to May 19. Nearly 400 hospitals-about 60% of those surveyed-completed the questionnaire. The survey found that in general interaction between surveyors and hospitals is more relevant and service has improved, Lord said.
Survey findings will be discussed during the JCAHO board meeting Sept. 14 and 15. The AHA and JCAHO plan to release a joint report on the survey after that meeting, he said.
During a freewheeling discussion, several audience members raised concerns about the JCAHO's leadership. Lawrence Prybil, CEO of the east-central region of Daughters of Charity National Health System, urged JCAHO commissioners to establish "a process and clear criteria to evaluate the management leadership to make sure that going forward we don't have a problem."
Kridelbaugh and JCAHO Vice Chairman John Helfrick said assessment of staff performance is a continuing concern.