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New JCAHO Standards to Reduce Medication Errors
In 2004 the Joint Commission introduced new regulations to reduce medication errors. These new regulations went into effect in January 2004 with many more to follow. A part of these new regulations include the Medication Management standard .3.20. The rationale behind the standard states that many medication errors occur while communicating or transcribing medication orders and that the hospital should take steps to reduce the potential for error or misinterpretation when orders are written or verbally communicated. Elements of performance of this standard require written policies addressing:
One of the many difficult standards to enact is the blanket reinstatement of previous orders. This includes terminology such as Resume Orders, Continue Orders, Continue Home Medications and similar terminology. If JCAHO surveyors find these types of orders written, they will report the hospital out of compliance with this standard. In the past when a facility was out of compliance with any standard, JCAHO would just give a score and move on. As of January 1, 2004 when JCAHO issues an out of compliance recommendation, the facility is required to correct the problem and prove it is compliant. Failure to comply could result in loss of payments from Medicare and third party payers.
To assist in compliance with this standard, NAMC nursing staff can print a current list of medications to assist the physician in the review of current patient profile.
Please remember this is a national policy that all JCAHO accredited organizations must follow. NAMC Administration and Directors are required to enforce this regulation or loose valuable funding.