While working seemingly endless days, many nurses do not realize the many influences that affect their professional practice or how client care is delivered. Besides their employer, health care organizations are highly regulated by federal, state, and local laws and regulations. In addition to the rules set by governments, most medical establishments want to be accredited by The Joint Commission (TJC), a non-government regulatory agency. TJC does not have the authority to cite or fine a facility for not meeting standards or responding to its custodian alerts (The Joint Commission, 2011). However, these standards carry considerable weight through the loss of millions of dollars from Medicare and Medicaid programs.
The Joint Commission is an independent, not-for-profit organization, established more than 60 years ago. TJC is governed by a board that includes physicians, nurses, and consumers. TJC sets the standards by which health care quality is measured in America and around the world. TJC evaluates the quality and safety of care for more than 19,000 health care organizations (The Joint Commission, 2011). To maintain and earn accreditation, establishments must have an extensive on-site review by a team of Joint Commission health care professionals, at least once every three years. The purpose of the review is to evaluate their performance in areas that affect clients’ care (The Joint Commission, 2011). Accreditation may then be awarded based on how well the organizations met TJC standard;, however, a site review is not a guarantee of accreditation.
To gain accreditation, TJC sets rigorous safety and quality of care standards and evaluates organizations to see whether or not they meet their standards. After the survey, TJC provides education and determines an accreditation status, such as accredited, conditional, or provisional (The Joint Commission, 2011). Once a facility has accreditation, losing it, and then regaining it is extremely rare. Specifically, ambulatory health care, behavioral health care, critical access hospitals, home care, hospital, laboratory services, long-term care, office-based surgery, and international are all eligible for accreditation by TJC. In addition, it offers certification in disease-specific care, advanced disease-specific care, health care staffing services, and international (The Joint Commission, 2011).
Just as each accreditation or certification has its own set of standards, each specific field has distinct safety and accountability criteria. Organizations that are grouped into the critical access hospital have different client safety goals than in behavior health care. Explicitly, behavior health care needs to identify client safety risks associated with suicide. Whereas, critical access hospital provides surgeries, so they have many more goals concerning client safety (The Joint Commission, 2011). They make sure the surgery is done on the right client and part of the body by placing a correct mark where...