As part of its gradual movement toward releasing additional information about hospitals and their accreditation survey results, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations is loosening its public information policy.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2001, the Joint Commission will provide more detailed data on the performance reports of hospitals that have had recommendations for improvements or that have flunked accreditation altogether.
The performance reports, which have been publicly available since 1994, show how individual hospitals score on various quality-assurance accreditation standards and how that score stacks up against a hospital's peer group nationally. The performance reports are available to consumers on the World Wide Web.
They also will include detailed information on serious quality-assurance infractions, known as Type I recommendations.
Each report will describe the "area of the standard in which the organization is out of compliance" but will not describe the standard itself, said Donna Larkin, JCAHO spokeswoman.
The performance report also will include information on complaints from consumers, employees or authorities that resulted in JCAHO investigations.
The date and related standard area of each investigated complaint that results in a recommendation for improvement will be disclosed, Larkin said.
Likewise, the reason for an adverse accreditation decision, whether for failure to comply with Joint Commission policies or standards or failure to participate in the accreditation process in good faith, will become public.
The JCAHO Board of Commissioners approved the new disclosure policy at its February meeting.