Joint Commission Resumes Inspections, Incorporates Remote Surveys

The Joint Commission (TJC) has indicated that it will resume its quality surveys in the month of June. Hospitals require successful TJC inspections in order to receive funds from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), a major source of revenue for almost every hospital.

As the initial threat of Covid-19 has passed, TJC is weighing where and how it will resume its surveys. Due to the impacts of Covid-19, TJC plans to incorporate physical distancing measures and some remote working technologies into its process. As this article from Bruce Jaspen at points out:

“The Joint Commission’s decision to suspend regular on-site surveys allowed health care organizations and professionals to concentrate on preparing and caring for patients with COVID-19,” said Joint Commission president and chief executive Dr. Mark Chassin.

In many cases, hospitals didn’t want to be distracted by Joint Commission surveyors even though patient safety is key to the accreditation process. The Joint Commission said there may have been a small number of surveys, however, that continued in some cases “such as high-risk situations.”

“The Joint Commission is committed to working closely with organizations, with safety being the first and foremost priority,” the Joint Commission said in a Wednesday memo to healthcare facilities.

…Once Joint Commission surveys resume, they will include efforts to assess patient safety and the related impact from the pandemic.

“As we start to resume surveys and reviews, account executives will begin to contact organizations due for a survey to assess the impact that the coronavirus pandemic had on their operations and their current state,” the Joint Commission memo says. “The Joint Commission is reviewing a variety of factors and criteria for determining where and which organizations will be surveyed, including identifying and then prioritizing low-risk areas in which we can go in safely to survey.”

The Joint Commission said its survey process will look “somewhat different” given the need to “employ physical distancing practices.” There will be, for example, need to limit “individuals in group sessions” and use audio and video conference calls.”

Read the entire article here: The Joint Commission To Resume Hospital Inspections After Pandemic Hiatus

The possibility of more remote surveys may result in additional scrutiny on electronic documentation around patient safety collected by hospitals. Is your hospital ready to share electronic documentation, such as tracer logs, with TJC? To prepare, hospitals have to make sure that they are following all of their detailed processes all of the time. Any breakdown in your processes would show in the documentation, putting your hospital’s reputation and finances at risk. Consider automation tools that help track the processes that TJC and other accreditation agencies focus on during their inspections. Systems such as iRIScope and iRISecure have been developed to ensure that processes and protocols are being followed since your managers can’t watch over every step of the way.

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