America’s premier healthcare accrediting and certification organization
spotlights on its website Parrish Medical Center in a white paper written
to help hospitals benefit from PMC’s experience in achieving a national
The Joint Commission, which accredits nearly 21,000 healthcare organizations
and programs, has published “A Framework for Achieving Clinical
Integration,” which details how PMC designed and carried out the
years-long effort that earned PMC the nation’s first Joint Commission
certification for integrated care.
“Integrated care certification offers an opportunity to measure success
within the network for reducing readmissions, cost of care, and effective
management of patients with chronic diseases,” the white paper says.
Officially named “The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal for Integrated
Care Certification,” the process “reviews how well an organization
handles information sharing, including handoffs, IT integration and other
integration points. “Integrated care is quite literally a worldwide
movement to improve patient care,” Mikitarian said. “Unfortunately,
it takes no effort for a healthcare provider to claim it's providing
integrated care, and such claims can mislead patients. “That’s
precisely why we sought certification, so patients could have confidence
in us and to use what PMC has done as a benchmark to measure against providers
who make claims without substance.
The white paper explains how Parrish Medical Center in 2009 made integrated
care emphasis part of its strategic plan; the decision to seek Joint Commission
integrated care certification; and how it used The Joint Commission’s
initial review to make care improvements that met certification standards.
“The Joint Commission certification evaluation forces you to demonstrate
that coordination of care,” Edwin Loftin, PMC vice president of
acute care, said in the white paper.
- Among the Joint Commission reviewers’ comments in the white paper
that PMC has used to benefit patients:
- Define within clinical care partners who is responsible for what processes
- Look for ways to match service capacity to meet needs of the community
- Ensure that information systems link patients, providers, community agencies
and payers across continuum of care
- Define meaningful and agreed-upon metrics among the clinical care partners
- Assure oversight/governance of a model that crosses organizations
- Guarantee that components within an integrated care structure are accountable
The white paper also explains how, by collaborating as well with community
organizations, PMC’s integrated care initiative quickly achieved
quantifiable results. For example, “PMC reduced the readmission
rate from SNFs (skilled nursing facilities’ patients admitted to
the hospital) from 20 percent to less than 6 percent, well below the national
benchmark of 19 percent.
”The Joint Commission’s market research of its certification
programs shows 92 percent of Joint Commission certification customers
indicate that certification improves patient outcomes.
“Lowering costs and improving patient outcomes are why PMC focuses
on integrated care,” Mikitarian said. “To be the country’s
first, and to be spotlighted in such a way by the Joint Commission, is
a testimony about the dedication of PMC’s care partners and our
community’s desire to work with us to improve health for the people we serve.
The white paper is available for download