May 8th, 2001

Surveyors from the Joint Commission for the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) recently conducted a weeklong inspection of all Great River Health Systems operations. The preliminary results from this in-depth inspection place Great River Health Systems among the top health-care providers surveyed by JCAHO, and the survey team has recommended Great River Health Systems for full reaccreditation.

JCAHO evaluates and accredits nearly 19,000 health-care organizations and programs in the United States. An independent, not-for-profit organization, JCAHO is the nation’s predominant standards-setting and accrediting body in health care.

JCAHO’s mission is to continuously improve the safety and quality of care provided to the public through the provision of health-care accreditation and related services that support performance improvement in health-care organizations. JCAHO accreditation is recognized as a symbol of quality that indicates that an organization meets these performance standards. To earn and maintain accreditation, an organization must undergo an onsite survey by a JCAHO survey team at least every three years.

Great River Health Systems received three separate survey scores: one for Great River Medical Center, one for the Klein Center and one for Great River Home Health Care.

Out of a possible score of 100, the hospital received a 93, which ranks Great River Medical Center among the higher scoring hospital facilities in the country. The hospital received four Type 1 recommendations, which are improvement issues that must be corrected within six months of completion of the inspection. The JCAHO inspection team included a hospital administrator, a nursing director, a physician and two surveyors who specialize in long-term care and chemical-dependency services.

“One of the most impressive aspects of the inspection results is that none of the recommendations had to do with direct patient care,” said Natalie Good, director of Quality and Performance Improvement. “All of the recommendations focused on documentation issues, and they can be easily resolved. In addition, the surveyors were very complimentary of the overall quality and knowledge of our staff and hospital.”

The JCAHO surveyors asked the hospital to provide them with information relating to the Living History Program, Rehabilitation Services, and the geothermal heating and cooling system. This information will be used by JCAHO as examples of “best practices” when inspecting other hospitals throughout the country.

As part of the hospital’s JCAHO survey, the health systems’ outlying clinics also went through the inspection process for the first time ever. The clinics are located in Mediapolis, Morning Sun, Wapello, West Burlington and West Point, Iowa, and Dallas City, Ill.

“I am very impressed with how well our clinics performed during the inspection,” said hospital President and CEO Mark Richardson. “This is the first time any of these clinics have had to prepare for and participate in the JCAHO survey process. Considering this, it says a lot for the people who work in these clinics that the surveyors did not have any Type 1 recommendations for any of the eight clinics.”

The Klein Center and Great River Home Health Care also finished their respective survey processes with impressive scores. The Klein Center scored a 95 while Great River Home Health Care came away with a 96.

“As with the hospital’s survey, most of the issues at the Klein Center and Home Health Care are paperwork and procedural in nature,” said Good, who oversaw the health system’s preparations for the inspection. “We can address all of the recommendations well within the given time frame.”

“Everyone did a tremendous job,” Richardson said. “Our JCAHO survey scores, together with our top 15 percent patient-satisfaction rating, will certainly establish Great River Medical Center as one of the finest hospitals in the country. We have a lot to be proud of.”