Michael Kulczycki Retires


Letter From Michael Kulczycki

To my dear colleagues:


That is a very difficult concept to put into a single word. After 44+ years of a professional-working life in health care, and after nearly 17 years of leading the Ambulatory Care accreditation program here at The Joint Commission, farewell means many things. Starting with my full retirement next month!

It means capping my time helping prospective—and current—customers better achieve patient safety and quality through our “Gold Seal” evaluation process. It means looking back on the rewarding experience of leading great Joint Commission teams of dedicated, smart individuals—all focused on serving our ambulatory customer needs. Farewell also means passing the opportunity to influence stakeholders across the country to increasingly rely on The Joint Commission as a partner in leading the way to zero to the next generation of leadership. These stakeholders included major corporate providers, our largest system customers, and influential ambulatory care professional societies and associations who represent our many varied customer interests. These professionals have increasingly relied upon The Joint Commission as a partner in leading the way to zero.

It means creating an incremental, but hopefully a meaningful impact on ambulatory care patients across the country, who are now proudly served by ambulatory care providers who are Joint Commission accredited.

Saying farewell to our Joint Commission team, and to our customer base, becomes easier, however, when leadership of this Ambulatory Care accreditation program is left in strong and capable hands (and minds).

Pearl Darling, who currently serves as associate director for the program, has been appointed executive director. With more than 17 years at The Joint Commission—nearly five years on our Ambulatory Care team and two years as associate director—she has already added so much in terms of her team leadership, innovative ideas, and passion for excellence and extraordinary customer service. So, I now pass the “helm” to her to continue to lead the ambulatory care program, so please help me welcome her into this new role!

Stay tuned to learn more about Pearl Darling’s vision for the ambulatory program in the coming days, weeks and months ahead.


Michael Kulczycki has served for more than 17 years as Joint Commission’s executive director for its Ambulatory Care Accreditation Program. The ambulatory and office-based surgery accreditation products have grown their customer base by 60 percent in that time, and the AHC program is now the third largest program by customer count. In 2011, under the “Robust Process Improvement” initiative underway at The Joint Commission, Kulczycki was certified as a green belt, and uses those skills in improving processes for ambulatory customers. In 2014, he was inducted as Fellow member of the Institute of Medicine-Chicago. Write him at mkegr3@gmail.com.