The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 23.0°F | Mostly Cloudy

Medical Dept. Commended by Review Board

By Eva Moy
News Editor

The Medical Department received an "accreditation with commendation" in its Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations review this year. MIT is the fourth health care agency in Massachusetts to receive the award since it was introduced in 1991, according to Medical Department Director Arnold N. Weinberg.

"This outstanding level of achievement reflects the successful efforts of your ability to provide high quality care for those you serve," Weinberg said.

He continued, "It's very valuable to have a third party, an external source ... come here and look at us using the same standards they use in other hospitals and ambulatory [walk-in] clinics."

Surveyors visited the Medical Center for two days in October for the evaluation. They inspected areas such as the overall physical plant, safety, record keeping, infection control policies, quality assurance, and how care is provided. In addition, they considered the laboratories, radiology center, and dental offices at the Medical Center.

"The most important thing we've done is keep a very close watch on the issues of quality of care," Weinberg said. This includes diagnosis and treatment, showing improvement of quality of care, tracking and monitoring patient outcomes, and fulfilling obligations for monitoring center tests.

"Since this survey ... really looks at all aspects of the organization, it really reflects on the contributions of all people working in the organization," Weinberg said.

Founded in 1951, the commission is a private, not-for-profit organization which "develops standards of quality in collaboration with health professionals and others and stimulates health care organizations to meet or exceed the standards through accreditation and teaching of quality improvement concepts," according to a JCAHO brochure.

The commission evaluates about 80 percent of all hospitals and health care programs in the United States, Weinberg said. It judges on four levels: accreditation with commendation (instituted in 1991), accreditation, conditional accreditation, and not accredited.

This year 3.9 percent of the health care organizations surveyed received accreditation with commendation. The rates for 1992 and 1991 were 3.7 percent and 6 percent, Weinberg said.

Accreditation is also important to health care insurers like health maintenance organizations and Medicare, Weinberg said.

The commission represents the American College of Physici- ans, American College of Surgeons, American Dental Association, American Hospital Association, and the American Medical Association.