The Official Voice of Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc. ®
An organization chartered by the U.S. Congress

January/February 2005

Making Your Voice Heard


The Veterans Affairs Committee is the custodian of Convention Resolution V-6-95—Participation in the Process of Accrediting DVA Medical Centers. The issue is consumer input into the accreditation process. The resolution “encourages chapters and state councils to become familiar with the accreditation standards currently used by the JCAHO” and encourages chapters and state councils to participate appropriately in providing consumer input, both positive and negative, during accreditation surveys by requesting public information interviews. The VVA Board of Directors insures that information pertaining to this process is disseminated to all chapters and state councils.”

In an effort to comply with the resolution, we are providing the following information:
JCAHO (the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations) is an organization that accredits hospitals and other health care facilities in the United States. Although it is a private nonprofit organization, JCAHO—with input from professional and consumer groups—establishes the standards by which health care facilities are evaluated. Accreditation status is used to establish eligibility for non-federal institutions to receive Medicare funds and, in some cases, to determine eligibility for licensure. Although Department of Veterans Affairs facilities can continue operating without accreditation, all VA Medical Centers (VAMCs) participate in the JCAHO accreditation process. Loss of accreditation or conditional accreditation is viewed as an extremely serious matter by the VA.

The JCAHO review process is conducted at least every three years. It includes on-site visits to health care facilities. JCAHO requires that hospitals provide an opportunity for the presentation of information by consumers and the public.

Recent changes in the accreditation process by JCAHO include unannounced accreditation surveys. The surveys focus on organization, safety of care, and safety of the environment in which care is provided. If you have information on these areas, you can request a public information interview with a JCAHO field representative. You must make the request in writing and include the information you wish to discuss.

The request should be sent to: Division of Accreditation Operations, Office of Quality Monitoring, Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, One Renaissance Boulevard, Oakbrook Terrance, IL 60181. You also can fax the information to 630-792-5636 or e-mail it to

JCAHO’s Office of Quality Monitoring acknowledges requests in writing or by telephone ten days before a survey begins. If your request is granted, an account representative will let you know the interview time and location as well as who will speak with you. The information you share will be carefully evaluated for relevance to the accreditation process.

You may also go to the JCAHO web site to find updated information on the accreditation of the VAMC nearest you.


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