While the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations has expertise in patient safety and medical quality improvement, the American Hospital Association and the Federation of American Hospitals each contend that this expertise does not extend to hospital governance and that the JCAHO should avoid extending its accreditation criteria into that realm. In a May 4 letter to the JCAHO, the FAH stated its strong objections to proposed changes to the leadership chapter in JCAHO's Hospital Accreditation Manual, which was issued for review last month. The letter, signed by FAH President Chip Kahn, said the proposed changes "will greatly hinder efficient and effective hospital operations" and noted that the "FAH fails to see how this significant intrusion into hospital operations is even arguably appropriate under JCAHO's historical accreditation function."
In its letter signed by Vice President of Quality and Patient Safety Policy Nancy Foster, the AHA said that the manual's proposed leadership component framework makes the governing board, administration and organized medical staff equals in the governance structure. "Obligating the hospital's governing body to submit all potentially controversial operational decisions to a process of collaborative decisionmaking and conflict resolution -- as the chapter appears to do -- would diminish the board's ability to govern and could in fact hamstring quality improvement efforts," the letter stated.
"We have received hundreds of comments to this field review and we will be considering them," said JCAHO spokeswoman Charlene Hill.
Read the FAH letter.