Lab Decisions Will No Longer Affect Hospital Decisions

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Beginning January 1, 2009, under new Joint Commission policy, laboratory accreditation decisions will no longer immediately impact hospital accreditation decisions. This policy establishes comparability in the way that a laboratory with an adverse accreditation decision rendered by The Joint Commission or one of its cooperative partners, College of American Pathologists (CAP) or COLA, impacts the hospital or other organization with which the laboratory is affiliated. Currently, a laboratory’s accreditation has a direct impact on the accreditation status of its affiliated organization.

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Under the new policy, the accreditation of laboratories and hospitals accreditation will continue to be linked, due to the critical importance of laboratory services to the delivery of hospital care. An adverse laboratory accreditation decision, whether due to survey by The Joint Commission, CAP or COLA, will help prioritize the hospital’s or other organization’s next unannounced survey.

“The new approach meets the needs of Joint Commission customers and reinforces the importance of the laboratory in the delivery of patient care,” says Ann Scott Blouin, Ph.D., R.N., executive vice president, Accreditation and Certification Operations, The Joint Commission.

The Joint Commission has been evaluating and accrediting hospital laboratory services since 1979 and freestanding laboratories since 1995. Today, The Joint Commission accredits nearly 2,000 organizations providing laboratory services, representing almost 3,000 CLIA-certified labs, including freestanding labs. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) officially recognizes the Joint Commission Laboratory Accreditation Program as meeting the requirements of CLIA ’88.

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