JCAHO hikes survey fees, scraps decision category

The Board of Commissions of the Oakbrook Terrace, IL-based Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) voted in early November to hike by 3.25% the fees it charges for periodic full surveys in all areas except ambulatory care and home care. The fee increase, scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, was the Joint Commission’s first across-the-board hike since 1994.

In a statement regarding the increases, JCAHO President Dennis S. O’Leary, MD, said the rate hikes reflect the Joint Commission’s difficulties with "continued inflation in the labor market and in travel and other vendor costs." (See "JCAHO shake-up: Symptom of serious financial woes?" in Hospital Peer Review, December 1999, p. 180.)

At the same board meeting, JCAHO’s commissioners voted, as expected, to scrap Accreditation with Commendation as an official decision category. Last July, in its critical report on the Joint Commission’s activities, the Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General said the category had become meaningless and should be either revitalized or done away with. In a statement justifying the decision, the Joint Commission claimed that "recent experience had suggested that the Accreditation with Commendation decision category was leading organizations to place undue pressure on their senior management staff to achieve Commendation and to seek to influence surveyors not to cite them for insufficient compliance with Joint Commission standards."