The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals (JCAHO) "categorically rejects" the findings of University of Michigan researchers regarding the relevance of JCAHO accreditation to patient outcomes, as reported in Daily Capsules earlier this week(See "New Study: High JCAHO Scores Mean Little")

In a formal statement, the JCAHO says it "categorically rejects the findings and conclusions of this recently published study by three University of Michigan School of Public Health researchers because the researchers’ determinations regarding the relationship of hospital accreditation to outcomes are seriously flawed.

"The two measures alleged by the authors to be indices of the quality and safety of health care -- mortality index and complications index -- have long since been dismissed by credible researchers and other experts in performance measurement. This is because both measures are global in nature (that is, they apply to a wide variety of patients who present to hospitals with everything from non-urgent conditions to extreme emergencies), and both are very difficult to adjust for risk (that is, to adjust outcomes expectations based on how sick patients are and how many co-existing diseases they have). Indeed, the Health Care Financing Administration (now the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) stopped publishing data on a similar measure -- hospital-specific mortality rates -- for these very reasons almost a decade ago. The measures used in this report therefore fall well short of being a 'gold standard' against which accreditation or any other evaluative process might be assessed."

Click here to see the complete JCAHO response to the Michigan study.