Sunday, June 28, 2009
The Joint Commission Experience
Some people have asked me what I did last week and what this "Joint Commission" thing is. Especially if you see patients in the hospital on a daily basis, hearing the words "The Joint Commission" (TJC) should make you a little tense.
For lack of a better term, TJC is a regulatory agency who inspects hospitals every three years or so to review hospital policies and procedures to maximize patient safety. Unfortunately, what is covered in the news a lot are patients sometimes accidentally harmed when they come to the hospital. How can this happen you ask? Most times, it is the breakdown of processes that occur in the hospital - in addition to human error.
Anyway, TJC comes to hospital unannounced to conduct their survey. So, for the past year or so, the hospital has been preparing (by reviewing and updating policies and procedures) and wondering when TJC was going to stop by. It happened last week.
Being the Chief of Staff for the docs of my hospital, I'm one of the people that the TJC reviewers talk to - so needless to say, my stress level was pretty high last week. They were at the hospital for three and a half days. And, the hospital senior leadership staff was on pins and needles while talking to these people wondering what they were going to scrutinize next.
In addition, I felt bad for my patients, because I had to cancel my office hours for most of the week. I thought that I could just shift my office schedule, but, at times, meetings at the hospital were moved to a different time. So, I just had to cancel an entire morning or afternoon at times. I felt bad about that.
When Friday morning came, the stress started to let up a little bit as this was the last day of the survey. The preliminary feedback was good, but the final report will come back in a couple of weeks. Overall, I'm proud in how the hospital presented itself. We know that we do good work, but to receive initial positive feedback from TJC gave everyone a sigh of relief.
Unfortunately, instead of celebrating on Friday afternoon, I got ready for a weekend on call. But, hey, I'm not looking for sympathy here. As I tell everybody, it's tough being awesome. And, if this is the price for being awesome, then, I'll take it. HA!
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It is little known that the Joint Commission is really a protection racket. They care not a farthing about patient safety and better medicine.
Though they wax poetically in their literature and proclimations, don't be fooled; they're in it for the money. A lot of money.
Your hospital and all hospitals upon whom they have a strangle hold PAYS for the accreditation; hospitals are also forced, de facto, into PAYING the Joint Commission for consulting with the hospital on how to PASS their accreditation requirements.
The Senate Finance Committee has investigated the JC and its other tentacles and have finally been able to pursuade Congress to revoke the exclusive "deeming" authority which the JC has held since 1965, when Medicare began.
This legislation was passed last summer, largely with my assistance.
The Joint Commission accredits and has accredited healthcare organizations since 1965. Even though they have the power to revoke accreditations or sanction institutions which are found to be errant, they almost never, ever do. Less than 1/10th of one percent of all institutions they have accredited have been had the credentials revoked. The reason is simple: Money.
The Joint Commission has now undertaken a sinister effort to accredit hospitals overseas in order that they may receive insurance payments. They do so without the force of law but make it appear that the accreditations of the Joint Commision and the Joint Commission International are one and the same; they are NOT. Simply put, the Joint Commission is a bunch of corporate thugs.
The reason they exist is the same reason that forces you to write YOUR comment anonymously: fear.
The Joint Commission is in cohots with the medical money players. They are stinking lot.
Read how they covered up my son's death at one of their accredited hospitals in Bangkok; www.bumrungraddeath.com
Carefully read their correspondence with me to get a sense of who these bastards are.
My upcoming book to be published in the fall will lay the story about these monsters bare. Look for a publication under the name of James Goldberg. It promises to tell a story about how the pieces REALLY fit; the same story which explains why you stressed out and why your patients were deprived of your care.
The terrible thing is; that's they way they want it. For you to be on the mat, Doctor, and for them to be telling you what good medicine is and is not. They pass this same cache onto the insurance companies who, in reality, practice medicine without a license; wait until they really sink their bloody fangs in evidence based medicine. You'll be practicing based on statistical compilations and not on your judment of proper care.
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