Joint Commission looks to revise governance standards

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Oct. 23, 2006

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A proposed Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations' standard revision threatens to undercut medical staff self-governance, according to the American Medical Association. The debate between doctors and hospitals about proposed revisions to JCAHO Standard MS.1.20 centers on what components of governance must be included in medical staff bylaws -- and therefore voted on and approved by physicians -- and what can be addressed in administrative rules, regulations and policies decided by hospital boards and medical executive committees.

Paul M. Schyve, MD, JCAHO's senior vice president, said the revised standard is aimed at ensuring "the self-governing organized medical staff and the hospital governing body work together to enhance the quality and safety of care, treatment and services provided to patients."

But the AMA's Organized Medical Staff Section worries that issues such as credentialing, privileging, medical staff structure and the duties and privileges of different categories of medical staff could, if taken out of their hands, be more easily manipulated by hospitals. JCAHO will accept comments until Oct. 27 via its Web site (link).

At press time, the AMA was set to issue a letter to the commission outlining its concerns about Standard MS.1.20. The Association also planned to file a response with suggested changes addressing physician objections. The AMA is urging its members and all medical staff to file their own comments with JCAHO.

More detailed information on the OMSS position, including suggested comments on JCAHO's proposed standard, is available at its Web site (link).

More detailed information on the OMSS position, including suggested comments on JCAHO's proposed standard, is available at its Web site (link).

Note: This item originally appeared at

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