Joint Commission

The Joint Commission is an independent, not-for-profit group in the United States that administers accreditation programs for hospitals and other healthcare-related organizations. The Commission develops performance standards that address crucial elements of operation, such as patient care, medication safety, infection control and consumer rights.

What is the Joint Commission?

The Joint Commission is an independent, not-for-profit group in the United States that administers accreditation programs for hospitals and other healthcare-related organizations. The Commission develops performance standards that address crucial elements of operation, such as patient care, medication safety, infection control and consumer rights. Most state governments require that healthcare organizations be accredited by the Commission as a condition for licensing and Medicaid reimbursement.

The Joint Commission's website provides this list of types of accredited organizations:

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

The Joint Commission's corporate members include the American College of Physicians, the American College of Surgeons, the American Dental Association, the American Hospital Association and the American Medical Association. The Board of Commissioners overseeing the organization includes a consumer advocate, a labor representative, administrators, employers, educators, ethicists, health plan leaders and quality control experts as well as doctors and nurses.

The Joint Commission was founded in 1951 as the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). Joint Commission Resources (JCR), a global affiliate group, oversees the Joint Commission International (JCI).

Learn more:

Role of Joint Commission in health IT.

Learn about the Joint Commission’s guidelines for business continuity.

The Joint Commission partly oversees electronic health funding and certification.

This was first published in May 2010

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