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Joint Commission Updates on HAI-related National Patient Safety Goal on HAIs

The Joint Commission has revised several of its requirements for National Patient Safety Goal (NPSG) 7, which focuses on the issue of healthcare-associated infections (HAI). The revisions go into effect on January 1, 2018, and apply to hospitals, critical access hospitals (CAH), and nursing care centers (NCC).

NPSG 07.03.01: Multidrug-resistant organisms (MDRO)

•    NCCs are now expected to follow the MDRO NPSG.07.03.01. Nursing homes experience a high rate of MDROs such as methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE). This was particularly concerning because nursing home patients were bringing MDROs to hospitals and vice versa.
•    The Joint Commission is adding a new infection, carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE) to NPSG.07.03.01. This change applies to hospitals, CAH, and NCCs.

NPSG 07.04.01: Central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI)

•    The EPs for the NPSG 07.04.01 have been reordered.
•    EP 11 was revised to specify the use of chlorhexidine for antiseptic skin preparation.
•    For both NPSG 07.03.01 and NPSG 07.04.01, facilities are now allowed to determine how frequently they need to re-educate staff and licensed independent practitioners on MDROs and CLABSIs.

Joint Commission deletes standards during third phase of EP review

On April 25, The Joint Commission announced it had completed the third phase of its Element of Performance (EP) review project. Phase three looked at standards from seven Joint Commission programs, deleting those deemed duplicative or have become standard operating procedure.

It should be noted that what was deleted varies based on each program. For example, an EP deleted for the hospital program might still exist for home care. Chapters affected include Environment of Care and Infection Prevention and Control.

Below are links to the various prepublication standards, which are effective July 1, 2017.

Joint Commission FAQs on H&P and titration orders

The Joint Commission has released new FAQs regarding the new updates to history and physical (H&P) updates and titration orders. The FAQs apply to hospitals, hospital clinics, and critical access hospitals.

The FAQs cover questions such as:

 When is an H&P update required?

What specific elements are required for titration orders? And what other safety and quality factors should be considered?

What are the requirements for updating an H&P after a procedure requiring anesthesia is performed after admission?

Joint Commission seeks comments on proposed suicide prevention requirements

The Joint Commission is seeking comments on its proposed requirements on National Patient Safety Goal (NPSG) 15.01.01 for suicide prevention in healthcare facilities. Specifically, it’s seeking feedback the revisions for hospitalcritical access hospital, and behavioral health accreditation programs. The comment period ends on May 1.

Joint Commission: More details on self-harm assessments

The Joint Commission announced that as of March 1, its surveyors will place special focus on suicide, self-harm, and ligature observations in psychiatric hospitals and units. Now, surveyors will document any and all observations of ligature or self-harm risks in the environment during the survey. The six major areas of assessment will be:

  • Plans and policies on harm mitigation
  • Effective coordination of staffing to deal with mitigation plans
  • Patient suicide risk-assessment processes
  • Policies and practices on what to do for at-risk patients
  • Staff awareness of a patient’s level of risk
  • Facilities’ improvement processes for things like:
    • Tracking patients’ histories
    • Root-cause analyses of safety events
    • Compliance monitoring
    • Response to non-compliance

Each observation will be documented, classified as a requirement for improvement, scored at EC.02.06.01, element of performance 1, and placed on the facility’s SAFER Matrix.

See our previous Accreditation Insider and Briefings on Accreditation and Quality coverage on suicide risks.

Measures of Success still apply for sentinel events

Due to the adoption of the SAFER Matrix, The Joint Commission announced that it was discontinuing its post-survey measures of success (MOS) process. However, the accreditor clarified that the sentinel event MOS process is still in effect and unchanged.

Changes to post-survey categories

The Joint Commission has eliminated its post-survey category of “Contingent Accreditation.” Now organizations can only receive one of four decisions: Accredited, Accredited with Follow-up Survey, Preliminary Denial of Accreditation, or Denial of Accreditation.

Accreditation— Given to a facility that’s compliant with all applicable standards or has successfully addressed all Requirements for Improvement (RFI). Once the Evidence of Standards Compliance (ESC) is submitted, the organization will get a notice of full accreditation. Follow-up surveys must be done within six months to show that an organization is compliant with their ESC.

Accreditation with follow-up survey— Given to a facility that isn’t in compliance with specific standards that require a follow-up survey within 30 days to six months. Also requires that problem areas listed in an ESC submission are corrected. Once the ESC is submitted, the organization will get a notice of full accreditation. Follow-up surveys must be done within six months to show that an organization is compliant with their ESC.

Preliminary denial of accreditation— Given to a facility when there’s evidence of one or more of the following:
•    An immediate threat to health or safety to patients or the public
•    Falsified documents or misrepresented information was given to surveyors
•    The facility is missing a required license or certification
•    The facility is significantly out of compliance with Joint Commission standards

Additional rules for receiving a “Preliminary Denial of Accreditation” ranking have been listed in the “important updates” section of Joint Commission Connect and are as follows:
•    Failing to fix all Requirements for Improvement (RFI) after two opportunities to submit ESCs have passed
•    Failing a second Medicare Deficiency Survey for not meeting a Condition of Participation or a Condition Level Deficiency
•    Evidence reveals patients have been put in jeopardy due to potential fraud or abuse committed by the organization

A Preliminary Denial of Accreditation (PDA 02) decision is made; organizations are now expected to submit a Plan of Correction (POC) within 10 business days of the final report’s posting. After which, there’ll be a survey within two months to validate the implementation of the POC.  This will be done in lieu of submitting ESC within 60 days.

For PDAs, facilities can appeal The Joint Commission to review this decision.

Denial of accreditation - A facility is completely denied accreditation. This happens when a facility:
•    Doesn’t to pay its survey or annual fees
•    Refuses to let The Joint Commission conduct a survey
•    Fails to address the conditions of their Accreditation with Follow-up Survey status
•    Fails to submit an ESC

At this point, there are no more appeals or reviews that a facility can use to stay accredited.

Finally, The Joint Commission’s governance structure has changed. Now, decisions on accreditation matters will be made by an executive team rather than an Accreditation Committee. The executive team is now in charge of making accreditation decisions, considering survey reports, follow-up activities, staff recommendations, and any unusual problems raised by the organization seeking accreditation.
Check out Briefings on Accreditation and Quality to learn more about the importance of avoiding denial of accreditation.

Joint Commission: Facilities now to receive email notifications about upcoming surveys/reviews

Starting March 6, The Joint Commission will send email notifications to organizations about upcoming surveys/review events. For each event, The Joint Commission will post the letter of introduction, the survey/review agenda, and surveyor/reviewer biographies and photos on organizations’ Joint Commission Connect extranet site. Afterwards, an email will be sent to the CEO and contact person for the accreditation team, letting them know this information is now up on the extranet to view. The main difference is how far in advance notifications are sent:

  • Announced events—30 days in advance, plus a second email the day of the event
  • Short-notice Events—7 business days in advance, plus a second email the day of event
  • Unannounced events (including all Medicare certification events)—Same day as the event

Additional information about the different types of events can be found in “The Accreditation Process” (ACC) chapter or “The Joint Commission Certification Process” chapter.

Joint Commission surveyors to focus on suicide, self-harm, and ligature

The Joint Commission announced that as of March 1, its surveyors will place special focus on suicide, self-harm, and ligature observations in psychiatric hospitals and units. Now, surveyors will document any and all observations of ligature or self-harm risks in the environment during the survey. Each observation will be documented, classified as a requirement for improvement, scored at EC 02.06.01 element of performance 1, and placed on the facility’s SAFER Matrix.

See our previous Accreditation Insider and Briefings on Accreditation and Quality coverage on suicide risks.

Joint Commission issues new Sentinel Event Alert about culture of safety

The Joint Commission today published its newest Sentinel Event Alert (SEA), which addresses the role of leadership in creating a culture of safety, namely that leaders’ first priority is being held accountable for the safety of patients and staff. Leaders are expected to find flaws and gaps in the care process and ensure that they are resolved.

The SEA comes with an infographic on the “11 Tenets of a Safety Culture.”