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Joint Commission Top Hospitals List Shuns Academic Medical Centers

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, September 15, 2011

Outcome measures may be included at a future point, but only if they "pass a stringent test," he said.

Asked why the report includes so many smaller, non-academic hospitals, Chassin acknowledged that small and rural hospitals are overrepresented and academic medical centers are underrepresented.
"I think that should be, number one, a notification or announcement that you don't have to be a big hospital to do well, and if you're a big hospital, it doesn't mean you're doing well (if you're not) paying attention to these very important processes of care..."

He said it should be "a wake-up call to larger hospitals to put more resources into these programs, and a recognition that small, rural and community hospitals can do an excellent job."

Chassin said that in reporting these process measures over the last several years, performance has remarkably improved because of these measures and the improvements they stimulate.  For example, care for heart attack patients 98.4%, up from 86.9% in 2002, for process measures including giving aspirin to each patient at arrival and discharge, fibronolytic therapy within 30 minutes and percutaneous coronary intervention within 90 minutes.

The Joint Commission criteria for performance excellence will continue to expand, Chassin said. For example, it is now in the second year of measuring performance for inpatient psychiatric care and in the first year of reporting results for patients with stroke and the prevention of venous thromboembolism.

Next year, a new set of measures will focus on care of moms and babies before, during, and after childbirth.


Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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6 comments on "Joint Commission Top Hospitals List Shuns Academic Medical Centers"


Richard A. Robbins, M.D. (11/1/2011 at 2:30 PM)
My colleagues and I have examined the Joint Commission's performance measures in terms of outcomes and find no relationship. The manscript was posted on 10-30-11 at Southwest Journal of Pulmonary and Critical Care (http://www.swjpcc.com/). There is also an accompanying editorial posted on 11-1-11.

Todd (9/22/2011 at 6:44 PM)
I disagree with the comment that The Joint Commission has a conflict. I think its more of a problem in the other direction. They have a TON of data about hospitals both in the US and Internationally yet fail to disclose it. They don't want to bite the hand that feeds. Perhaps now they're starting to release information since Press Gainey is now comparing hospital data.

chloe (9/15/2011 at 11:37 PM)
By the way, there is also a conflict of interest with HEALTHGRADES. Healthgrades sells its consultancy services to hospitals who, surprise! Always get top ratings. Also a huge percentage of Healthgrades information is inaccurate. Finally, the hospitals that earn high ratings have to pay Healthgrades for the privilege of advertising that fact to the public. It's all a crock.