Clarification: This story has been updated to reflect transaction details provided by a Joint Commission spokesperson.
- On Wednesday, the Joint Commission, the country’s oldest independent hospital accreditation organization, announced it will acquire the National Quality Forum, a nonprofit that develops healthcare quality measures. The NQF will join the Joint Commission as an affiliate member.
- The merger is expected to make The Joint Commission’s accreditation and certification processes more evidence-based, data-driven and outcomes-oriented, according to a release. Although NQF will join the Joint Commission, the NQF will maintain its independence in maintaining a fiduciary board and developing its quality measures, according to a spokesperson.
- The Joint Commission President and CEO Jonathan Perlin promised in a video that the deal will not lead to an increased burden for hospitals, stating, “This doesn’t mean more measures. It means fewer measures, more precise measures, better measures.”
Wednesday’s announcement comes on the heels of The Joint Commission's recent efforts to revamp the accreditation process in an attempt to be more streamlined and equitable.
The Joint Commission, which was founded in 1951 and accredits and certifies more than 22,000 healthcare organizations and programs in the United States, has announced two waves of standard eliminations over the past nine months. The first trimmed 182 standards and a second cut an additional 200 — a move Perlin said was designed to make standards “fewer but more meaningful.”
Perlin believes the new partnership with NQF will help the accreditation body produce “the tightest possible measure set.”
NQF is also poised to benefit from the deal, according to Dana Gelb Safran, President and CEO of NQF.
The nonprofit convenes stakeholders to develop and maintain clinical quality measures to improve health outcomes. Partnering with The Joint Commission, Safran said, will provide NQF a heightened platform to deploy the nonprofit’s next generation of measures.
The merger has an initial seal of approval from the hospital industry, with representatives of both the American Hospital Association and the Federation of American Hospitals endorsing the announcement.
Under the merger “health care providers, patients and other stakeholders should gain a clearer and more consistent understanding of what excellence in health care looks like with a more streamlined set of metrics,” Nancy Foster, AHA's vice president of quality and patient safety policy, said in a statement.
The Joint Commission is not disclosing financial terms of the transaction, according to a spokesperson.