2002 topics listed for unannounced surveys

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations has announced its 2002 topics for random unannounced surveys (RUSs). Five percent of Joint Commission-accredited organizations will undergo an RUS. The Joint Commission selects organizations between nine and 30 months after their full surveys. The surveyor stays for one day, and there is no charge.

The Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care in Wilmette, IL, also conducts RUSs on a sample of organizations from nine to 30 months after the regular surveys. There is one surveyor, and the surveys last up to one day. There are no fees, and the topics are not announced. 

For hospitals, the RUS topics from the Joint Commission are:

  • Environment of Care: planning;
  • Assessment of Patients: initial assessment;
  • Management of Information: patient-specific data and intervention;
  • Care of Patients: medication use;
  • Management of Human Resources for a Patient: training and education of staff.

The Joint Commission RUS topics for ambulatory organizations are:

  • Human Resources: credentialing and privileging of licensed independent practitioners;
  • Performance Improvement: performance improvement;
  • Management of the Environment of Care: implementation;
  • Care of Patients: medication use;
  • Human Resources: competence assessment.

The RUS can be a positive experience for pro-viders, says Ginger Whitlock, RN, MSN, CNA, consultant and educator with Joint Commission Resources, a subsidiary of the Joint Commission that provides consultation. Why? "Because the surveyors come in and, while they’re looking at standards that have been challenging in the previous year for the field, they’re also looking at the organization’s previous survey accreditation report," she says. "They find the process is very educational and consultative, and that the folks doing this are fair-minded and eager to make this a good experience and not a frightening experience." If the center is open for business, a RUS can be conducted, even if your top managers aren’t there, Whitlock warns.

If you’re a hospital-affiliated center, you’ll want to notify the hospital leaders immediately if you’re undergoing a RUS, she advises. "There may be documentation that they need to get from the main site, such as credentialing," Whitlock says. "Hospitals need to be ready to respond immediately. It should be part of the ongoing state of readiness." 


For more information on random unannounced surveys, contact: Linda Siegler, Joint Commission Resources, One Lincoln Center, Suite 1340, Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181. Telephone: (630) 268-7400.