Accreditation

GAO report finds that Joint Commission/JCR firewall okay

Briefings on Accreditation and Quality, March 1, 2007

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A U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report finds no fault with the separation between The Joint Commission's accreditation operations and the publishing and consulting operations of its affiliate, Joint Commission Resources, Inc. (JCR).

"Despite The Joint Commission's control over JCR, the two organizations have taken steps designed to protect facility-specific information," reads the GAO report, released on January 16. The report was prepared at the request of Representative Pete Stark (D-CA) and Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Max Baucus (D-MT), although Baucus' name was left off the final report.

According to the report, the organizations created a "firewall" in 1987, policies to establish a barrier between The Joint Commission and JCR to prevent "improper sharing" of information. "For example, the firewall is intended to prevent JCR from sharing the names of hospital clients with The Joint Commission," the report reads.

Beginning in 2003, the report continues, the organizations began taking steps intended to strengthen the firewall, "such as enhancing monitoring of compliance."

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