Joint Commission Fact

Joint Commission Fact

Facts about The Joint Commission

Mission: To continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value.

Vision: All people always experience the safest, highest quality, best-value health care across all settings. Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value. The Joint Commission evaluates and accredits more than 20,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. An independent, not-for-profit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. To earn and maintain The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval™, an organization must undergo an on-site survey by a Joint Commission survey team at least every three years. (Laboratories must be surveyed every two years.)

The Joint Commission is governed by a 32-member Board of Commissioners that includes physicians, administrators, nurses, employers, a labor representative, quality experts, a consumer advocate and educators. The Board of Commissioners brings to The Joint Commission diverse experience in health care, business and public policy. The Joint Commission’s corporate members are: American College of Physicians, American College of Surgeons, American Dental Association, American Hospital Association, and American Medical Association. The Joint Commission employs approximately 1,000 people in its surveyor force, at its central office in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois, and at a satellite office in Washington, D.C. The Washington office is The Joint Commission’s primary interface with government agencies and with Congress, seeking and maintaining partnerships with the government that will improve the quality of health care for all Americans, and working with Congress on legislation involving the quality and safety of health care.

Accreditation and certification services

The Joint Commission provides accreditation services for the following types of organizations:

• General, psychiatric, children’s and rehabilitation hospitals
• Critical access hospitals
• Home care organizations, including medical equipment services and hospice services
• Nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and other long term care facilities
• Behavioral health care organizations, addiction services
• Ambulatory care providers, including group practices and office-based surgery practices
• Independent or freestanding clinical laboratories

The Joint Commission also awards Disease-Specific Care certification to organizations that provide disease-specific care and chronic care services, and an advanced level of certification is offered for: chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, comprehensive stroke centers, heart failure, inpatient diabetes and primary stroke centers. The Joint Commission also has a Health Care Staffing Services certification program.

Benefits of Joint Commission accreditation and certification
The benefits of Joint Commission accreditation include:

• Helps organize and strengthen patient safety efforts
• Strengthens community confidence in the quality and safety of care, treatment and services
• Provides a competitive edge in the marketplace
• Improves risk management and risk reduction
• May reduce liability insurance costs
• Provides education to improve business operations
• Provides professional advice and counsel, enhancing staff education

The benefits of Joint Commission certification include:

• Improves the quality of patient care by reducing variation in clinical processes
• Provides a framework for program structure and management
• Provides an objective assessment of clinical excellence
• Creates a loyal, cohesive clinical team
• Promotes a culture of excellence across the organization
• Facilitates marketing, contracting and reimbursement

Standards and survey process
Joint Commission standards address the organization’s level of performance in key functional areas, such as patient rights, patient treatment, medication safety and infection control. The standards focus on setting expectations for an organization’s actual performance and for assessing its ability to provide safe, high quality care. Standards set forth performance expectations for activities that affect the safety and quality of patient care. If an organization does the right things and does them well, there is a strong likelihood that its patients will experience good outcomes. The Joint Commission develops its standards in consultation with health care experts, providers, measurement experts, purchasers, and consumers. The Joint Commission on-site survey process is data-driven, patient-centered and focused on evaluating actual care processes. The objectives of the survey are not only to evaluate the organization, but to provide education and “good practice” guidance that will help staff continually improve the organization’s performance. Joint Commission on-site surveys are designed to be organization-specific, consistent and to support the organization’s efforts to improve performance.

Information and education

The Joint Commission has a longstanding commitment to providing meaningful information about the comparative performance of accredited organizations to the public. The Quality Check website,, launched in 1996, fulfills this commitment.

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