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All Kaiser Permanente Hospitals in Northern California Earn Joint Commission Accreditation.

OAKLAND--(BW HealthWire)--Jan. 4, 1999--Demonstrating an organizational commitment to quality health care, all 16 Kaiser Permanente hospitals in Northern California have achieved continuing three-year accreditation from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). A national, not-for-profit organization, JCAHO sets nationally recognized health care standards for hospitals and other health care organizations.

The accreditation process, which is voluntary, includes extensive on-site surveys conducted by a JCAHO team of health care experts who measure individual hospital performance in a variety of areas ranging from infection control and physician credentialing, to record keeping and building safety. In California, JCAHO joins forces with the Department of Health Services (DHS) and the California Medical Association's Institute for Medical Quality (IMQ) to conduct an even more rigorous survey, the Consolidated Accreditation and Licensure Survey (CALS). The on-site hospital surveys were conducted in September, October, and November 1998.

"Our members are the beneficiaries of the accreditation process," said Richard R. Pettingill, current senior vice president of operations for the California Division of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals. Pettingill assumes the role of California Division president on Jan. 1, 1999. "The accreditation survey is a useful tool in our continuing efforts to improve our quality of care."

While JCAHO recommended several areas of improvement, mostly focusing on documentation and processes, the accreditation team provided positive feedback on a wide range of patient care programs including:

-- Stroke pathways at the Sacramento and South Sacramento Medical Centers. These are hospital-based care plans for stroke patients that span a variety of disciplines including clinical care, physical therapy, nutrition, etc.

-- Perinatal services at the Santa Clara Medical Center. This hospital has an innovative "couplet care" approach in which new mothers and their infants are cared for by the same specially trained hospital staff members, rather than by separate pediatric and adult nurses.

-- Critical care unit services at the Walnut Creek Medical Center. This hospital offers outstanding support for critical care patients and their families, including ethics rounds that assist families facing end-of-life and other medical-ethical issues.

-- Preventive medicine programs including pediatric asthma prevention programs (which have resulted in dramatic reductions in hospital admissions), immunization and mammography screening programs.

"Above all, the national standards are intended to stimulate continuous, systematic and organizationwide improvement in an organization's performance and the outcomes of care," said Russell P. Massaro, MD, executive vice president, Division of Accreditation, Jount Commission. "The community should be proud that Kaiser Permanente is focusing on the most challenging goal to continuously raise quality to higher levels."

Kaiser Permanente's Southern California hospitals achieved accreditation last year.

Kaiser Permanente, California is a prepaid, group practice health maintenance organization (HMO) serving more than 5.5 million members throughout the state. More than 7,000 Permanente Medical Group physicians in both The Permanente Medical Group (TPMG) in Northern California and the Southern California Permanente Medical Group (SCPMG), as well as 55,300 Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals employees, provide care to Health Plan members. There are 27 major medical centers organized into 12 service areas throughout California.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jan 4, 1999
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