The next Joint Commission survey could arrive at WVU Medicine any time between now and Aug. 18, without notice. Its focus could be from among 18 areas of care, with questions that may pertain to any one of the organization’s 1,700 standards of care.
 
Though the random nature of the survey is hard to predict, preparation is something staff and employees can control, says Aaron Kocsis, R.N., regulatory coordinator with WVU Medicine’s Center for Quality Outcomes.
 
“There’s no way to be prepared other than to be prepared comprehensively,” Kocsis said.

However, Kocsis has prepared a last-minute checklist, which is available for employees to use. The list includes simple items, such as removal of expired products, closed and locked med room doors and separation of new and empty oxygen tanks.

The organization's last survey was in August 2012. The window for the next visit is narrowing, but the Joint Commission is not obligated to announce its arrival in advance. The accreditation process features seven surveyors from all over the country representing different aspects of care, all of whom are typically new to the WVU campus. The survey starts almost immediately upon arrival and lasts four days with a concentration exclusively on care and clinics, including behavioral medicine.

Following the visit, the surveyors compile a report and make an accreditation decision with input from the Joint Commission’s central office. The report may note deficiencies that require an improvement plan and proof that the plan was executed within a specified deadline.
 
Kocsis said the Center for Quality Outcomes works continuously to “proactively identify weaknesses and institute our own corrective action plans.” It guides numerous self-assessments, mock surveys and other activities to ensure the highest level of care and patient safety.