March 2, 2021

What is JCAHO?

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations or JCAHO is a nonprofit organization based in the United States that accredits over 20,000 healthcare organizations and programs in the country. The JCAHO commonly is referred to as the Joint Commission in the healthcare industry and among governmental industry regulators on the federal and state levels. The Joint Commission is the successor of an organization established in 1951.

Goals and Objectives of the JCAHO

The JCAHO has an explicitly stated mission:

“To continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value.”

A major objective of the Joint Commission is to continually improve and enhance the quality and safety of healthcare delivery in the United States. Towards this end, makes a concerted, consistent effort to engage patients in issues associated with improving the quality and safety of healthcare delivery across the country. For example, JCAHO has focused intensely on the matter of infections that arise in healthcare settings, including surgical site infections and multidrug-resistant or MRSA infections.

Cost of JCAHO Accreditation

Healthcare organizations and programs that seek certification via the Joint Commission are required to pay the costs associated with this process. This includes the underlying fee for certification as well as associated costs. Associated costs include the travel expenses of those individuals from JCAHO that will be undertaking the certification review process at a particular hospital, medical center, research facility, or other entity seeking this designation from the Joint Commission.

Alternatives to JCAHO Accreditation

Although JCAHO is the industry leader when it comes to healthcare organization and program certification, it is not the proverbial “only game in town.” Some states in the U.S. have their own certification agencies and do not rely on the Joint Commission to provide this service. States that undertake this effort on their own are in a minority at this juncture in time.

There are other nonprofit certifications in the country. These organizations tend to focus on segments of the healthcare industry and are not as expansive or comprehensive in their reach as is the Joint Commission. Alternatives certification agencies in operation in the United States are:

  • Accreditation Commission for Health Care
  • American Osteopathic Association
  • Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities
  • Community Health Accreditation Program
  • Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program
  • National Commission on Correctional Health Care
  • Utilization Review Accreditation Commission

Joint Commission Speakers Bureau

The JCAHO maintains an extensive speakers bureau. The organization believes that making reliable information about quality and safe healthcare deliver widely available is crucial to improving the overall operations of hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare providers in the United States. As a result, JCAHO speakers bureau has experts available to address vital topics that include:

  • accreditation
  • performance measurement
  • quality improvement

A majority of organizations and programs within the healthcare industry are certified via the Joint Commission. The major role that JCAHO plays in the healthcare certification process is expected to remain into the future.

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