The Federation of American Hospitals sharply criticized the Joint Commission last week for not using National Quality Forum-endorsed practices for three of the commissions six proposed 2008 patient-safety goals.
The Joint Commission invited comment on the proposed goals when released early last December, and the FAH responded with concerns. We respectfully request that the Joint Commission be consistent in its support of NQF-endorsed measures, wrote FAH President Chip Kahn in a Jan. 24 letter. While the Joint Commission has pledged to use only NQF-endorsed hospital performance measures for public reporting, it has continued to act independently in the area of patient safety, he wrote.
Quite simply, competing demands from (other quality groups) diminish hospitals capacity and resources to focus on a few evidenced-based ... practices that could have a significant impact on improving safety, Kahn also wrote.
Rick Croteau, the Joint Commissions executive director for patient-safety initiatives, said the accrediting agency makes every effort to harmonize its goals with those of the NQF, but that the groups work on different timelines. The Joint Commission updates its list of patient-safety goals each year, while the NQF typically takes three years before it adds to its endorsed practices. The bottom line is, we would not discount a potential safety goal simply because it has not yet arrived on NQFs desk, he said.