JCAHO to study hospital smoking-cessation practices

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) announced the implementation of an externally funded research study that will examine the counseling hospitals offer to patients to help them stop smoking.

A survey was sent to a random sample of 185 hospitals nationwide to assess the smoking cessation counseling provided to hospital patients admitted with diagnoses of acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, and pneumonia. The survey also seeks the perspective of institutional leaders on the effectiveness of smoking-cessation efforts.

The deadline for returning the survey was Sept. 8. Responses to the survey and findings from the research study will have no impact on the accreditation status of organizations participating in this project.

Findings from the study will be used to identify best practices and develop educational strategies that health care organizations can employ to improve current smoking cessation practices. The initiative is being funded by the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center at the University of California, San Francisco, which is supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

In addition to standards banning smoking at hospitals, the Joint Commission addresses the issue of smoking cessation as part of its standardized performance measurement requirements. Three of the core measure sets — acute myocardial infarction, heart failure and pneumonia — contain measures related to whether smoking cessation advice or counseling has been provided during a hospital stay.

For more information about the project, please contact Karin Jay in the Joint Commission’s Division of Research at (630) 792-4940 or by e-mail (kjay@jcaho.org). To learn more about the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center, go to http://smokingcessationleadership.ucsf.edu or call (415) 502-1881.

JCAHO panel to examine cultural, linguistic issues

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) has appointed an expert panel to assist in a study of hospitals’ efforts to address cultural and linguistic issues that affect patient care. The 2½-year study will attempt to identify best practices for providing culturally and linguistically appropriate care in hospitals, and could play a role in future JCAHO accreditation standards. The study will involve site visits to a sample of 60 hospitals starting May 2005.

The panel, which first met last month, will advise JCAHO in selecting hospitals for site visits, determining what information to collect, and developing a survey tool and protocol for collecting information. The 23-member panel includes a representative from the Health Research and Educational Trust, which is an American Hospital Association affiliate. For a complete list of panel members, see the press release at www.jcaho.org.

South Florida partners promote healthy habits in schools

The Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Foundation has received $1.4 million in grants for a program that will promote healthy habits among fourth- and fifth-graders at 50 public schools in South Florida. The program seeks to decrease the rate of childhood obesity and improve health and academic performance.

Partners in the regional project include the School Board of Broward County, Health Care District of Palm Beach County, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, North Broward Hospital District, School District of Palm Beach County, and YMCA of South Palm Beach County. The initiative will phased in 16-18 schools a year over the next three years, reaching an estimated 18,000 students, according to a press release from Memorial Healthcare System, which includes Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital.

In addition to local funding, the "Schools of Wellness Initiative" received a $500,000 matching grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.