Members of the executive committee of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations will recommend to the full board that the JCAHO get out of the business of selling analyses of hospital data to third parties. Four of the executive committee's six members and the JCAHO's Chief Executive Officer Dennis O'Leary met today with top leaders of four of the JCAHO's five member organizations. The 29-member JCAHO board will meet Friday. The issue of whether the JCAHO will require hospitals to submit patient-level data as part of accreditation remains on the table, a JCAHO spokeswoman said.
The decision follows six months of controversy over a data-mining contract between a JCAHO subsidiary and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Under the contract, the subsidiary provided hospital-specific performance reports to 14 Blues plans partly using data supplied by the hospitals in the accreditation process. The American Hospital Association -- one of the member organizations whose CEO was at the meeting -- had asked HHS' Office for Civil Rights to review whether the contract would violate federal privacy standards. The JCAHO and the AHA expect to meet with the office Thursday. Also at today's meeting were CEOs of the American Medical Association, American College of Physicians and American College of Surgeons. The JCAHO's fifth member organization, the American Dental Association, was not represented. -- by Joseph Conn