JCAHO revises performance areas for some surveys

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) recently announced that it will revise the fixed and variable performance areas evaluated during random unannounced surveys, starting in 2004.

Under the current accreditation process, the identification of fixed and variable performance areas have been at the grid element (performance category) level. However, beginning in 2004, the reporting of standards compliance will be organized by Critical Focus Area — processes, systems, or structures in a health care organization that significantly impact the quality and safety of care — rather than by grid element.

This change is part of a series of significant standards and survey process improvements. The 2004 fixed performance areas approved recently by the Accreditation Committee of JCAHO's Board of Commissioners are staffing, infection control, and medication management, plus National Patient Safety Goals that are relevant to an organization's care and services.

The variable performance areas that are part of the random unannounced surveys will be based on prioritized Critical Focus Areas that are specific to each organization. A sample of 5% of organizations accredited under the ambulatory care, behavioral health care, home care, hospital and long-term care programs are randomly selected for unannounced surveys each year.