You can visit The Joint Commission's website which describes their mission and vision but I'm going to do a better job breaking it down.
Think of The Joint Commission as a mother and father of hospitals. They work hard to achieve their goal...to raise their children right. An even better way to think of them is to compare them to The Better Business Bureau. When you walk into a store with a blue BBB sticker on it, you feel a little more secure of the store's reputation. Any business can ASK for BBB accreditation, but that doesn't mean they'll get it. The BBB will first evaluate the business to see if it meets all their practices and standards. It's an honor for a business to have that accreditation and it shows a level of professionalism because they don't have to get one, they have to ask for it. Furthermore, by having it, they know that if someone complains a third party (the BBB) will come in to do an investigation and be a mediator.
The Joint Commission is to hospitals as The Better Business Bureau is to businesses.
Hospitals want to be "accredited," meaning...someone is overseeing them. It's similar to college...for the completion of most degrees, you have to graduate from an "accredited university." In addition, for a hospital to receive Medicaid and/or Medicare money, they HAVE to be accredited from some third party organization.
The Joint Commission is the LARGEST organization who accredits hospitals and oversees them. There are smaller organizations that hospitals can choose to get accreditation from, they're names are just not commonly known.
Common Misconceptions About the Joint Commission
Everyone seems to think The Joint Commission scares hospitals to death. Don't get us wrong, it's never a good thing when a complaint is submitted and the hospital knows a third party will be coming in to do an investigation. BUT...they have NOTHING to do with the government and they don't hand out fines. Actually, the only control they ultimately have over a hospital is to put their accreditation in warning status and if the institution continually fails, they could take that accreditation away...which could potentially lead them to losing their ability to take payments from patients with medicaid and medicare. However, rarely if ever do hospitals lose their accreditation.
What Does the Joint Commission Do?
The Joint Commission is a non-profit organization that hospitals can ASK to get accreditation from and is then who the hospital will work with to resolve your dispute if you were unable to do it yourself. Someone from the organization will investigate the complaint to find out if the concerns are valid. They will work alongside the hospital to ensure standards and/or procedures are corrected and then follow up later if needed to ensure the corrections are still in place.
If you submit a complaint through their website, they will let you know they received your complaint and then you just wait. From our current understanding (because we're in the waiting period), you'll receive a letter after the investigation is finished and the hospital proves they've taken corrective measures. And that's it. It may not seem like much on a patient's end but The Joint Commission is tracking all complaints and all events. They are all documented and collected. Therefore, you have to trust in them that they are doing what they are there to do...raising their children by walking into their room, going through a few drawers, confronting them with the evidence and then reminding them of what they should and shouldn't do. From our understanding, they aren't the type of parents who put their children in time out or deliver spankings but instead reinforce and model the proper behavior and continually look for it.
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