This white paper is the first work product of the Joint
Commission’s new Public Policy Initiative. Launched in 2001, this
initiative seeks to address broad issues that have the potential to
seriously undermine the provision of safe, high-quality health care
and, indeed, the health of the American people. These are issues
which demand the attention and engagement of multiple publics
if successful resolution is to be achieved.
For each of the identified public policy issues, the Joint
Commission already has state-of-the-art standards in place.
However, simple application of these standards, and other unidimensional
efforts, will leave this country far short of its health care
goals and objectives. Thus, this paper does not describe new Joint
Commission requirements for health care organizations, nor even
suggest that new requirements will be forthcoming in the future.
Rather, the Joint Commission has devised a public policy action
plan that involves the gathering of information and multiple
perspectives on the issue; formulation of comprehensive solutions;
and assignment of accountabilities for these solutions. The execution
of this plan includes the convening of roundtable discussions and
national symposia, the issuance of this white paper, and active
pursuit of the suggested recommendations.
This paper is a call to action for those who influence, develop or
carry out policies that will lead the way to resolution of the issue.
This is specifically in furtherance of the Joint Commission’s stated
mission to improve the safety and quality of health care provided
to the public.