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. t

SARS audio program updates guidelines

Is your facility prepared for the return?

Leading epidemiologists say a global return of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) — which wreaked havoc on the health care systems that had to deal with it — is almost inevitable.

The current overriding concern is that SARS will resurface as a seasonal illness along with influenza and other respiratory infections. Indeed, it would be a surprising development if the emerging coronavirus did not return, said Julie Gerberding, MD, MPH, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.

"As an infectious disease expert, I can say in my experience, I’ve never seen a pathogen emerge and go away on its own," she said. "I think we have to expect that somewhere, some time, this coronavirus is going to rear its ugly head again; and that’s the whole purpose of all this preparedness effort."

What would happen today if a patient with suspected or probable SARS were admitted to your hospital? To help you prepare for the threat, Thomson American Health Consultants offers a compact disc recording of the audio conference: The Resurgence of SARS: Why Your Hospital May Not Be as Prepared as You Think.

The program’s first speaker is Allison McGeer, MD, director of infection control at Mount Sinai and Princess Margaret Hospitals in Toronto. A veteran epidemiologist, she dealt firsthand with SARS patients and occupationally infected workers during the prolonged outbreak in Toronto. McGeer outlines the lessons she learned dealing with this novel emerging pathogen on the front lines. Her insight provides guidance on preparing your facility now for what may come.

If SARS returns, hospital emergency departments (EDs) certainly will be on those front lines. A career ED clinician, Susan E. Shapiro, PhD, RN, CEN, supplies listeners with valuable tips and procedures in addition to addressing and clarifying recently updated CDC recommendations for SARS. Shapiro is a postdoctoral fellow in risk assessment and intervention research with individuals and families at Oregon Health & Science University School of Nursing in Portland. An ED nurse and nurse manager before recently completing a doctoral program, she is the Emergency Nurses Association’s representative to the CDC’s SARS task force.

This recording will serve as an invaluable resource for your entire staff. Your fee of $199 includes presentation material, additional reading, and 1 hour of CE, CME, or Critical Care credit. For more information, call customer service at (800) 688-2421 or contact us via e-mail at customerservice@ahcpub.com. When ordering, refer to effort code: 85541.