by Brenée Goforth
Communications Associate, John Locke Foundation
Friday, Carolina Journal’s Julie Havlak reported an update on UNC Hospitals’ Joint Commission accreditation. Havlak reports:
UNC Hospitals is one step closer to regaining its clean reputation, but concerns remain.
After completing follow-up inspections, the Joint Commission lifted its preliminary denial of UNC Hospitals’ accreditation and upgraded the hospital to “accreditation with a follow-up survey.”
UNC Hospitals was placed on probation following an unfavorable assessment from the nonprofit Joint Commission. Havlak explains:
UNC Hospitals was originally placed on probation because it failed to meet the suicide prevention standards of the Joint Commission — an independent, nonprofit association that certifies most hospitals in the U.S..
…Most of the serious problems revolved around the treatment of mental health patients, particularly those at risk for suicide attempts or for being abused and exploited. The Joint Commission demanded better management of ligature risks — places where a patient could hang or choke themselves — and better identification of potential victims of abuse.
However, those were not the only problems cited in the Joint Commission report. Havlak writes:
UNC Hospitals was also diagnosed with problems involving hospital-acquired infections, patient assessment, medication storage, the reliability of emergency power sources, and fire safety.
According to Havlak:
The Joint Commission only recommends Preliminary Denial of Accreditation when there’s an immediate threat to health and safety, a submission of falsified documents or misrepresented information, a lack of a required license, or significant noncompliance with Joint Commission standards.
The clean bill of accreditation means the Joint Commission is satisfied with UNC Hospitals’ response to its performance issues. But the hospitals will probably face added scrutiny.