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JOINT COMMISSION LAUNCHES HEALTH CARE PROVIDER NETWORK EVALUATION AND ACCREDITATION ACTIVITIES THROUGH FIRST PUBLIC REVIEW OF STANDARDS

    OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill., Aug. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations has distributed a draft of standards for evaluating health care provider networks for review by an expert panel of consumers, payors, purchasers, and health care providers.  A health care provider network, a component of many health care reform proposals, is an organized health care delivery system that provides an integrated range of services, often to an identified group of patients.
    The Joint Commission expects to begin evaluation of provider networks in early 1994.
    "There has been rapid growth in collaborative efforts among health care organizations to improve access to integrated care while containing costs," said William F. Jessee, M.D., Joint Commission vice president for research and standards.  "As the pre-eminent evaluator of the organizations that comprise provider networks -- such as hospitals, ambulatory care, long term care, home care, mental health care, and other health care organizations -- the Joint Commission is developing standards to evaluate the performance of these networks as a whole."
    The draft provider network standards were sent to a panel of more than 100 experts representing consumers, payors, purchasers and health care providers.  Following the revision of the standards based on reviewers' comments, a series of roundtable discussions about the revised draft standards will be held in the early fall in Washington, Chicago and on the West Coast.  A broader distribution of the revised draft standards for additional review will occur later in the fall.
    The standards are designed for health care networks that have centralized direction and either deliver or provide for health care services to individuals.  These provider networks take a variety of forms, ranging from health maintenance and other managed care organizations, to vertically and horizontally integrated community- based systems, to federations of organizations that have united to cooperate in the delivery of services.  Networks also include the accountable health plans contemplated by many health care reform proposals.  The standards address issues of network-wide integration, coordination, and accountability, and also cover:
    -- Patient Rights
    -- Organizational Ethics
    -- Continuum of Care
    -- Education
    -- Communication
    -- Network Leadership
    -- Utilization Management
    -- Human Resources Management
    -- Financial Management
    -- Information Management
    -- Performance Improvement
    The Joint Commission will appoint a national advisory group this fall to provide technical guidance in developing and implementing the provider network evaluation and accreditation program, including both standards and performance measures.
    "While the primary stimulus to form networks has often been to control health care costs, maintaining and improving the quality and accessibility of health care is equally critical," Jessee said.  "The Joint Commission's development of national standards and its rigorous evaluation process stimulates this improvement."
    The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, a private, not-for-profit organization, evaluates and accredits more than 5,300 hospitals as well as 3,000 other health care organizations that provide home care, mental health care, ambulatory care, and lone term care services.  Founded in 1951, the Joint Commission is the nation's oldest and largest health care standards-setting and accrediting body.
    NOTE TO EDITOR:  A copy of the draft standards and a background on the evaluation of provider networks may be obtained by calling contact below
    -0-             08/13/93
    CONTACT:  Stephen L. Davidow, media relations manager, of The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, 708-916-5635 CO:  JOINT COMMISSION ON ACCREDITATION OF HEALTHCARE
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 13, 1993
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