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Joint Commission Pops In, Home Care Gets Gold

It wasn’t quite, “They’re B-A-A-A-CK ….” But it was close.

When the call came on Sept. 19 from Joint Commission surveyors announcing they were en route to the Johns Hopkins Home Care Group to conduct their much-anticipated accreditation survey, six of Group’s 12 administrators were at an early-morning meeting at Hopkins Hospital.

 The six rushed back to Home Care’s headquarters on Broening Highway, but by the time they got there, their well-prepared colleagues had welcomed inspectors and the survey was beginning. Thanks to months of detailed preparation by the group’s 14-member Continual Readiness Team—overseeing quality and safety measures under the slogan “We’re Always Prepared Because We Care”—Home Care was ready.

Home Care would be the first Johns Hopkins Medicine entity to undergo the Joint Commission’s new, unannounced on-site review. In January, it received the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval.

Of 702 elements of performance, only four shortcomings were noted. “They’re all very easy fixes,” says Mary Myers, Home Care’s vice president and chief operating officer. Related action plans have been implemented and approved by the Joint Commission.

The results demonstrate a steady road to continuous improvement that is the philosophy of the Home Care team. This contrasts with the last survey in 2003, Myers says, when inspectors cited 18 opportunities for improvement, and the 2000 survey, when 32 were noted.

The Johns Hopkins Home Care Group consists of Home Health Services, Pediatrics at Home and Pharmaquip, which provides durable medical equipment, infusion and respiratory care services and operates five outpatient pharmacies on the Hopkins Hospital and Bayview campuses.

The surveyors—a nurse, pharmacist and respiratory therapist/administrator—were especially impressed with Pharmaquip’s culture of quality and safety and praised its medication reconciliation procedures, designed to ensure that patients’ medications are those listed on their records and the ones caregivers had ordered.

The surveyors reviewed more than 700 medication records and did not find one discrepancy, Myers says. “They said it was the first 2006 survey in which they did not cite medication reconciliation as an issue.”

Hopkins Hospital and Bayview now are preparing diligently for their own rendezvous with Joint Commission surveyors. Myers advice? “Focus on the Commission’s national patient safety goals. With those,” she warns, “they have no tolerance for lack of compliance.” 

—Neil A. Grauer



Johns Hopkins Medicine

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