The recently signed health care reform bill was passed through a process called reconciliation. This was a bit controversial politically, because the unified Republican opposition wanted to prevent the bill from becoming law. In this context, reconciliation meant negotiating a compromise to the House and the Senate versions of the bill through budget negotiations to achieve implementation of the law.

Medication reconciliation is altogether different, in that there’s no controversy. We ALL need to be doing it, according to JCAHO (the Joint Commission on Accreditation of HealthCare Organizations, pronounced “Jay-co”) the IHI (Institute for HealthCare Improvement, brainchild of Dr. Donald Berwick, recently appointed-but-as-yet-unconfirmed head of CMS, the government’s Medicare and Medicaid entity), and virtually every other person and organization involved in improving the quality and safety of health care for patients.

Reconciling medication seems too basic to even think about, but it’s a much more complex task than it appears at first glance.

What is it?

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