Discharge Planning Advisor: A quick view of JCAHO’s DSC certification

The Disease-Specific Care (DSC) certification offered by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations is designed to evaluate disease management and chronic care services provided by hospitals, health plans, disease management service companies, and other care delivery settings.

The evaluation and resulting certification decision is based on an assessment of these components:

  • compliance with consensus-based national standards;
  • effective use of established clinical practice guidelines to manage and optimize care;
  • an organized approach to performance measurement and improvement activities.

Disease-specific care services that successfully demonstrate compliance in all three areas are awarded certification for a one-year period.

After the first year, a one-year extension can be granted, contingent on the submission of an acceptable assessment by the organization of continued compliance with standards and evidence of performance measurement and improvement activities.

The first year, the off-site plus on-site evaluation covers standards compliance, clinical practice guidelines, and demonstrated performance measurement and improvement activities.

The second year, there is an off-site review of submitted descriptive material by the reviewer that covers updated guidelines information, assessment of standards compliance, and, again, demonstrated performance measurement and improvement activities.

Thereafter, an on-site review must be conducted every two years to maintain certification.

In developing the DSC certification, the Joint Commission attests, it received guidance from 25 health care organizations representing hospitals, health plans, disease management organizations, integrated delivery systems, and primary health care providers, who reviewed the draft program model, program tools, and standards.

Nine sites pilot tested the program, and a 21-member Certification Advisory Committee provided advice on the draft program model, standards, and performance measurement requirements. The committee included, among others, representatives from the National Chronic Care Consortium, the Disease Management Association of America, and the Disease Management Purchasing Consortium.

The Joint Commission publishes a list of the certified DSC programs on its web site.

(For more information, go to the organization’s web site at www.jcaho.org.)