Every year across the nation, countless VA Medical Centers spend thousands of hours and resources on preparing for accreditation surveys from the Joint Commission. Most consider these surveys to be essential for a health care organization. However, a close look will reveal that the VA receives the same style, intensity, and frequency of accreditation survey from the VA Office of Inspector General (OIG). The OIG survey is known as the Combined Assessment Program (CAP) Reveiw. CAP reviews utilize the same standards as the Joint Commission and are a duplication of the work that VA Medical Centers pay Joint Commission to due. The OIG also performs suprise inspections and other for cause surveys in line with the services the Joint Commission performs. The services provided to VA Medical Centers by the Office of Inspector General and the Joint Commission are a duplication and one should be eliminated.
Due to the fact that the Joint Commission is an outside contractor, elimination of its services will be easier than eliminating federal employees at the OIG. Therefore, my suggestion is to eliminate Joint Commission surveys and services from the Veterans Health Administration due to the duplication of services with the Office of Inspector General.
The VA and the Joint Commission have a long standing relationship which will be difficult to cut ties with; however, a close analysis of the services performed, I think, will reveal a significant amount of duplication, and therefore waste that can be eliminated from the federal budget. The cost savings would be two fold. Immediate savings from the contract that would be eliminated would measure in the multi-millions, but also a great deal of hidden savings would be found in workload reduction for staff that would be able to focus on the primary mission of the Dept of Veterans Affairs, helping Veterans.