Every three years Family Health Centers of San Diego is subjected to an intense review of our programs, services, and most of all, our clinical safety. For over two decades, we have invited The Joint Commission, the nation’s pre-eminent accrediting body for health care organizations, to spend a week testing our systems, our culture of safety, our process improvement, our patient satisfaction and our clinical outcomes. A total of 12 of our 23 clinical sites were subject to this intense scrutiny.  Daily briefings were held with management to review surveyor observations and large numbers of employees were interviewed on the 1,000+ standards and sub-standards of the Joint Commission. This was a particularly tough survey, by very knowledgeable surveyors.

The Joint Commission accredits and certifies nearly 21,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. Joint Commission accreditation and certification is recognized nationwide as a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to meeting certain performance standards.

All hospitals with Medicare contracts are required by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to undergo the rigorous competency review of the Joint Commission every three years; conversely, community health centers and clinics are not required to have Joint Commission certification. But, the Board and management of Family Health Centers of San Diego want that external validation. We believe the testing of our clinical care and infrastructure keeps us at the top of our game, and ensures optimal safety to our patients.

We are proud of our commitment to quality care and patient safety.  It is our practice to share with our stakeholders the outcome of our patient satisfaction scores, and clinical metric outcomes. These scores are posted in our patient waiting rooms and broadly shared throughout our organization. We believe the comments of The Joint Commission surveyors provided at the conclusion of the survey are also worthy to share with our supporters. Here they are:  “Beautiful facilities,” “Dedicated staff,” “Great access to care,” “Appreciative patients,” “Dedicated Board of Directors,” “Best site survey we have done in the country in 2017,” “You do wonderful work with the community,” and “Given the complexities of a large multi-site organization, FHCSD surveyed better than most single site organizations!”

Immediately following the survey, we commenced meetings with our clinical teams to discuss how to evaluate, prioritize and use the educative comments of the surveyors. The collective goal of the clinicians, staff, management and Board of Directors of Family Health Centers of San Diego is to be the best we can be, and that is the reason we undergo the rigorous Joint Commission survey process, again and again!


“CEO’s Corner: An Update from Fran” is a regular feature of Adelante, our monthly newsletter. Please check our Adelante archives for additional columns and keep an eye out for featured ones appearing in this blog!