Dennis O'Leary, president of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, told JCAHO surveyors earlier this year that he probably would retire at the end of 2007, but in an interview today O'Leary, 67, said he was not committed to doing so. O'Leary said he made his comment to surveyors at a January training meeting. "It was general guidance, but not official," he said. "The next day, I might not have said the same thing." O'Leary's current term expires at the end of 2007.
O'Leary said he was in "no rush" to leave the JCAHO, which he has headed for 19 years. During his tenure, O'Leary has overseen the organization's expansion of accreditation services to cover nearly 15,000 patient-services organizations, from acute-care hospitals to disease-management programs, and its push to become a larger force in patient-safety issues. A hematologist by training, O'Leary is a member of the Institute of Medicine, the advisory council of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the board of the National Quality Forum. -- by Joseph Conn