When you are searching for private duty nursing care for a child or an adult, look for an agency that is accredited by the Joint Commission. What is the Joint Commission? Why is that important to your child or adult family member?

The Joint Commission is an independent, not-for-profit organization which accredits nearly 21,000 health care programs and organizations in the United States. Joint Commission accreditation and certification of an organization is recognized nationwide as a symbol of quality. In addition, according to www.en.wikipedia, “A majority of U.S. state governments recognize Joint Commission accreditation as a condition of licensure for the receipt of Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements.”

To be accredited by Joint Commission, a healthcare agency must undergo a rigorous examination of its operation. This includes a review of written policies and procedures, job descriptions for all positions, safety protocols, and much more. The agency’s staff spend a significant amount of time preparing for this initial examination, and the agency incurs considerable expense.

The surveyors, who are salaried employees of the Joint Commission, spend several days at the physical location of the healthcare agency. They determine if the agency meets the healthcare standards of the Joint Commission. If the agency is deficient, it must correct the situations before it can be accredited by the Joint Commission.

After the initial certification is awarded, the agency is put on a three-year accreditation cycle. Surveyors from the Joint Commission visit the agency, review staff personnel files, examine client charts, read nursing notes, and meet with staff. They also make site visits to the homes of clients selected by the surveyors. If the agency fails to meet the standards of the Joint Commission, it must remedy the deficiencies or lose its accreditation.

Beginning on January 1, 2006, the Joint Commission began making unannounced surveys. “Unannounced” means the organization does not receive advance notice of its survey date. This concept of the “unannounced visit” forces JC organizations to maintain a standard of excellence in their operations every day. It requires JC organizations to update their policies and procedures on a regular basis.

American Home Health is accredited by the Joint Commission. Our focus upon patient safety and quality of care aligns with the goals of the Joint Commission. When you are seeking private duty nursing care for a child or adult, look for an agency accredited by the Joint Commission. It is the gold standard in the healthcare field.

—By Karen Centowski

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