What MedTech Sales Reps Should Know About the Joint Commission!

If you call on healthcare organizations it’s highly likely that you have had a sales call disrupted because the facility was under-going an unannounced accreditation survey.

When this happens, meetings are abruptly cancelled, re-scheduling of meetings is placed on hold because no one knows how long the surveyors will be on site, key personnel become unavailable, opportunity close dates are placed in limbo and sales stall.

 What MedTech Sales Reps Should Know!

You know the result of an unannounced accreditation survey but what do you know about the accreditation process and the Joint Commission? We hope this missive will provide insight to make you more conversant and knowledgeable with healthcare providers and buyers.

1.  Mission: The mission of The Joint Commission is to continuously improve the safety and quality of care provided to the public through the provision of health care accreditation and related services that support performance improvement in health care organizations.

2.  History: The Joint Commission was formed in 1951 as a nonprofit organization and has accredited hospitals for over 60 years.

3.  Deemed Status: The Joint Commission is one on three entities with “deemed status” from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that a hospital may select for accreditation. Deemed status with CMS allows facilities to participate in Medicaid and Medicare as a third-party payer.

4.  Accreditation Options: Other than the Joint Commission, accreditation for hospitals can also be obtained from The Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (HFAP) operated by the American Osteopathic Association or DNV Healthcare Inc. a wholly owned subsidiary of Det Norske Veritas.

5.  Advantages: Although accreditation is not required by law, not having it puts healthcare facilities at a disadvantage in terms of public image, and the capability to borrow money or float bond issues. The benefits of Joint Commission Accreditation are :

a.  It strengthens community confidence in the quality and safety of care and in the treatment and services provide by the hospital or facility.

b.  It can provide a competitive edge in the marketplace when compared to non-accredited facilities.

c.  It should improve risk management and risk reduction

d.  It provides education on best practices to improve operations

e.  It is recognized by many private insurers

f.  It can enhance staff recruitment and retention

6.  Accreditation Focal Points: The Joint Commission provides accreditation services to:

a.  Hospitals: General, children’s, psychiatric, rehabilitation and critical access hospitals

b.  Ambulatory Health Care Services: This includes out-patient surgery centers, office based surgery, imaging centers, sleep centers and urgent care centers

c.  Behavioral health care and addiction services

d.  Clinical laboratories: Free-standing laboratories and those connected with other healthcare organizations

e.  Home care organizations: This includes home health services, personal care and support services, home infusion and pharmacy services, durable medical equipment and hospice services.

f.  Long Term Care: This includes skilled nursing facilities, sub-acute care programs and rehabilitation centers.

7.  Service Lines: Many of the Joint Commission accredited organizations opt for certification in one or more service line areas such as Cancer, COPD, CHF, Diabetes, High-risk pregnancy, Obesity-bariatric surgery, Parkinson’s disease or stroke to name but a few.

8.  Percent Accreditation: Approximately 77% of the nation’s hospitals are currently accredited by the Joint Commission and approximately 90% of the nation’s accredited hospitals are accredited by the Joint Commission.

9.  International Accreditation: The Joint Commission also has an international accreditation program in more than 20 countries.

10.  Unannounced Surveys: Joint Commission surveys are now unannounced. This encourages a system of continuous quality improvement rather than preparation focused specifically on an upcoming site visit. The survey window can be as short as 18 months or as long as 39 months. Facilities must be ready at all times.

11.  Survey Team: Generally the survey team is comprised of a physician, nurse and an administrator one of which is the survey team leader. The number of people varies by bed size.

12.  Survey Duration: A Joint Commission Survey for hospitals lasts for two to five days depending on the number of beds in the hospital and the scope of their patient care activities. For hospitals less than 50 beds it may be only two days and for hospitals of 500-750 beds it would most likely be four to five days.

13.  Standards Focus: The Joint Commissions standards focus is on patient safety and quality of care. It is an audit of the actual delivery of critical services and patient care.

14.  Accreditation Status: To find out if an institution is accredited go to qualitycheck.org.

15.  Accreditation Duration: A certification of accreditation is valid for 3 years.

Parting Thoughts

As healthcare undergoes major reform the MedTech Sales Representative of the future must thoroughly understand the different roles, function and operation of a hospital and other healthcare facilities. An appreciation of the benefits and challenges associated with healthcare accreditation will allow the account manager to provide insight, products and services that will assist stakeholders in the accreditation process. In the process they will differentiate themselves and their company as being a partner and advisor and not a supplier.