Accreditation and Risk Management
There are two areas of hospital managing that are supposed to give you, the consumer, the best possible chance for a positive hospital experience: accreditation and risk management. Accreditation is a program which, through periodic surveys, seeks to assure that all hospitals operate within acceptable standards and guidelines in meeting patients' needs. Risk management is a function that is supposed to investigate the causes of all undesirable events, promote truthfulness in documentation, and make permanent changes that would prevent such mishaps in the future. Can you as a consumer rely on the decision of the surveyors who declared that your hospital meets the standards of care? Can you be certain that you will receive fair treatment and a straightforward accounting from hospital management once a staff member that you trusted committed negligence? The answers are mixed.
Although most hospital managers pride themselves on getting high marks from accreditation surveyors and most hospitals have quality assurance departments, the hospital environment is often unsafe. Furthermore, risk managers frequently orchestrate the documentation of injurious events to suppress evidence that might be used against the hospital in a lawsuit. Therefore, once you learn the truth about how the corporate executives run their hospitals, you can communicate in a way that will make them more responsive to your needs. Moreover, if you or a loved one becomes injured because of a staff member's carelessness, you can protect your rights by insisting on accurate and truthful documentation.