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About AHCJ: General News

Joint Commission changes website based on AHCJ request Date: 01/24/11

Jan. 24, 2011 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Len Bruzzese, AHCJ Executive Director, 573-884-5606, bruzzesel@missouri.edu

The Joint Commission, the largest nonprofit organization to accredit hospitals in the United States, has improved the quality of information available to consumers and journalists on its website.  In response to a request by AHCJ's Right to Know Committee, the agency has made it easy to tell whether a facility has recently lost accreditation or is in danger of losing it.

In the site's Quality Check section, the search page now has a filter allowing viewers to select "Type of accreditation." (The filter only appears in areas where there are hospitals that are not fully accredited.) Previously, to find hospitals with less-than-full accreditation, users had to examine each hospital's record individually. Now the few that have not met standards can be quickly located.

 "We're pleased that the Joint Commission responded to our suggestion to make its website more useful," said Charles Ornstein, president of AHCJ's board of directors.  "Reporters and consumers will now find it somewhat easier to learn about the institutions to which they entrust their health." 

Until the change was made in October,  even organizations with conditional accreditation or a preliminary denial of accreditation showed up on the search page as having a "Gold Seal of Approval" from the Joint Commission - without any caveats or qualifications.  Now an organization's level of accreditation appears below its "Gold Seal" on the search page. 

"This represents a much needed change," said Felice J. Freyer, chair of the Right to Know Committee, "and we're grateful to The Joint Commission for taking this valuable step."

 This change is just one of several the Right to Know Committee had suggested, and Freyer says her committee will continue to press for the others. They include the creation of a more robust side-by-side comparison tool and the display of historical accreditation information. Currently, when a hospital loses accreditation, the Joint Commission removes its quality reports after one year. The Joint Commission has said individual reports are available upon request but it will not post them on the website. It also declined to provide the historical reports to AHCJ.

"In an era when health care reform has sparked renewed interest in health care costs and quality issues," Ornstein said, "the ability to fully and adequately research and report on local hospitals is of the utmost importance to AHCJ members."