JCAHO, Supervising and Raing Hospitals

JCAHO

You are probably familiar with The Joint Commission For the Accreditation of Health Care Organizations. Most hospitals worry about JCAHO regularly scheduled vistis approximately every three years. What is almost unknown is that JCAHO recently adopted a regulation in 2001 that tries to prevent ill physicians from being treated punitively. Instead they require the illness be recognized, diagnosed, and corrected.

MS.2.6
The medical staff implements a process to identify and manage matters of individual physician health that is separate from the medical staff disciplinary function.
Intent of MS.2.6 An organization has an obligation to protect patients from harm. In this regard, the medical staff and organization leaders design a process that provides education about physician health, addresses prevention of physical, psychiatric, or emotional illness, and facilitates confidential diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physicians who suffer from a potentially impairing condition. The purpose of the process is assistance and rehabilitation, rather than discipline, to aid a physician in retaining or regaining optimal professional functioning, consistent with protection of patients. If at any time during the diagnosis, treatment, or rehabilitation phase of the process it is determined that a physician is unable to safely perform the privileges he or she has been granted, the matter is forwarded to medical staff leadership for appropriate corrective action that includes strict adherence to any state or federally mandated reporting requirements.

This is not a well recognized statue in all quarters. It's importance is that if health issues are involved, the physician needs to be diagnosed and treated. The physicain should not end up in a battle for other reasons, or incur a punitive action.

The JCAHO provides a number of other regulations about records, and processes that can affect the relationship between the hospital and yourself in a tense interaction, due to malpractice suits, illness, or other matters. It is wise to study their manual if this applies to you.