By demonstrating compliance with the Joint Commission on Accreditation
of Healthcare Organization (JCAHO) national standards for health care
quality and safety, Atlantic General Hospital and Health System has earned
the Joint Commission's Gold Seal of Approval™
The Gold Seal of Approval, which indicates a hospital or healthcare organization’s
accreditation, was awarded after a four-day on-site survey of all hospital
departments and the health system facilities by JCAHO representatives
in early July.
The visit marked JCAHO’s first unannounced re-accreditation survey
of Atlantic General under a new set of procedures. Previously, the Commission
notified a given hospital in advance of survey dates and provided a timeline
of scheduled visits to various departments.
The new system was designed to ensure that Maryland’s hospitals remain
focused on the 250 National Patient Safety Goals on a continuous basis
rather than in the weeks or months leading up to a scheduled survey.
Also new to the survey was a tracer methodology, in which selected patients
were tracked through all aspects of care in the hospital, from the admission
or outpatient registration process, to medical or surgical treatment,
distribution of medication, and then on to discharge.
Surveyors used a similar approach for systems, one example being the handling
of a particular medication from the procurement process, to a physician’s
order, to actual dispensing of the drug to a patient and any related safety
assessments conducted by the hospital. The commission describes this approach
as a feature-length film, rather than a snap shot, of the care provided
by a healthcare organization.
A separate survey was conducted for the hospital’s laboratory toward
the end of July, which also resulted in re-accreditation.
“Every department, associate and health care provider at Atlantic
General Hospital is devoted to patient safety. It’s part of our
organization’s mission,” says hospital President and CEO Michael
Franklin. “The scope and results of this survey reflect that dedication
to superior patient care.”
In addition to ensuring that a healthcare organization can receive reimbursement
from Medicare, insurers, and other third party payers, the JCAHO accreditation
process, which is voluntary for Maryland hospitals, provides Atlantic
General Hospital and Health System with tools to constantly develop and
implement better methods of practice.
"Above all, the national standards are intended to stimulate continuous,
systematic and organization-wide improvement in an organization's
performance and the outcomes of care," says Darlene Christiansen,
executive director, Hospital Accreditation Program, Joint Commission.
"The community should be proud that Atlantic General Hospital is
focusing on the most challenging goal – to continuously raise quality
and safety to higher levels."
Founded in 1951, the Joint Commission evaluates and accredits nearly 15,000
healthcare organizations and programs in the United States. It is the
nation’s predominant standards-setting and accrediting body in healthcare.
The Joint Commission's on-site survey of Atlantic General Hospital
occurred in July. The next re-accreditation survey will occur within the
next 18 to 39 months.