The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations is a private, not for profit organization established in 1951 to evaluate health care organizations that voluntarily seek accreditation. The Joint Commission evaluates and accredits more than 16,000 health care organizations in the United States, including 4,400 hospitals, more than 3,900 home care entities, and over 7,000 other health care organizations that provide behavioral health care, laboratory, ambulatory care, and long term care services. The Joint Commission also evaluates and accredits health plans and health care networks.
It is governed by representatives from the American College of Physicians, the American College of Surgeons, the American Dental Association, the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, an at-large nursing representative, six public members, and the Joint Commission President. The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) began in the 1920’s when the American College of Surgeons took measures to bring standardization to the delivery of healthcare known as the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.
The Joint Commission operates voluntary accreditation programs for hospitals and other healthcare services. The Joint Commission can certify health care organizations as having met the Condition of Participation required for reimbursement under the federal Medicare program. A majority of state governments recognizes Joint Commission accreditation as a condition of licensure and receiving Medicaid reimbursement. Inspections are typically tri-annual with accreditation and survey findings made publicly available.
The revised accreditation manual for hospitals no longer focuses on separate departments, but is divided into three major sections. The first section is patient care centered, the second deals with organizational functions and the third section covers the “behind the scenes” organizational functions such as governance and management. The Management of Information is viewed by JCAHO as an important organizational function along with Management of Human Resources, Leadership, Environmental Services and Improving Organizational Performance.