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Joint Commission’s 2017 antibiotic stewardship standards

In the wake of a CMS ruling that will make antibiotic stewardship programs (ASP) mandatory, The Joint Commission recently announced that it will roll out a similar standard. Effective January 1, 2017, the new Medication Management standard requires facilities to create an effective ASP. The standard applies to:

The Joint Commission released the standard a month after attending the White House Forum on Antibiotic Stewardship, which focused on implementing changes over the next five years to slow the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, detect resistant strains, promote stewardship of existing antibiotics, and prevent the spread of resistant infections. Representatives from 150 retailers, food organizations, healthcare organizations, and animal health organizations were in attendance.

Only 40% of U.S. hospitals have an antibiotic stewardship program and an estimated 30% to 50% of prescribed antibiotics are unnecessary or inappropriate.  In the U.S., drug-resistant diseases cause 23,000 deaths and 2 million illnesses each year. That number is expected to increase exponentially in the upcoming decades. 

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Joint Commission eliminates life safety Plans for Improvement

As of August 1, The Joint Commission will no longer accept hospital Plans for Improvement for life safety deficiencies identified by surveyors, the accreditor announced today. Hospitals will now have 60 days to fix any and all life safety deficiencies, unless they receive a waiver from a CMS regional office for additional time. The change was announced at the American Society of Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) annual conference by George Mills, director of engineering for The Joint Commission, according to an ASHE advisory alert. The change comes at the request of CMS, which had asked The Joint Commission to revise its Statements of Conditions process. Visit here for more information on the changes.

Joint Commission to test its stroke care performance measures in August

Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in America, resulting in 133,103 deaths in 2014. In response, The Joint Commission is working a new performance measure set for its Advanced Certification Program for Acute Stroke Ready (ASR) Hospitals. The accreditor is working with both the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association on the development of the measure sets.

So far, the accreditor has developed two new performance measures for ASR hospitals and has updated several other stroke measures. Volunteer facilities will test the measures from August to November 2016, with results to be reviewed and finalized in 2017.

Click here to see the list of draft performance measures. 

Joint Commission releases checklist for new diagnostic imaging standards

Recently, The Joint Commission published an imaging compliance checklist to help healthcare organizations prepare for new standards that go into effect on September 1. The checklist can be used for self-assessment and survey preparation.

In February, the accreditor released prepublication standards for all facilities with diagnostic imaging services. The requirements address the minimum qualifications needed for personnel to conduct diagnostic computed tomography exams:

Click here to download the “The Imaging Compliance Checklist.” 

Joint Commission updates hospital quality measures Specifications Manual

The Joint Commission recently published its updated Specifications Manual for National Hospital Inpatient Quality Measures.

CMS and The Joint Commission worked on the manual together to create a single set of documentation and create an identity amongst common hospital performance measures. The document includes measure sets for tobacco use, substance abuse, stroke, and venous thromboembolism and its release notes are applicable from July 1 through December 31.

Joint Commission updates CT technologist prepublication standards

The Joint Commission announced that it was updating two standards involving advanced-level computed tomography (CT) certification. The accreditor had originally announced changes to the CT certification back in February and received several comments from customers concerned over the new minimum qualifications for CT technologists. In response to the feedback, The Joint Commission decided to delete one note and suspend one Element of Performance from the standards.

The prepublication standards for hospitals, critical access hospitals, and ambulatory care centers are now on The Joint Commission website. The standards go into effect on September 1, 2016.


Joint Commission announces delay on texting ban repeal

This spring, The Joint Commission reversed its ban on texting medical orders, citing critical improvements in the technology’s security. The accreditor has now announced it will delay the repeal until it can create additional guidance on appropriate texting policies, according to an article in the July issue of Joint Commission Perspectives. The Joint Commission and CMS will be collaborating on a set of FAQs and hope to publish their additional guidance by September.

Joint Commission approves new antimicrobial stewardship standard

In the wake of a CMS ruling that will make antibiotic stewardship programs [ASP] mandatory, The Joint Commission recently announced that it will roll out a similar standard. Effective January 1, 2017, the new Medication Management standard requires facilities to create an effective ASP. The standard applies to hospitals, critical access hospitals, and nursing care centers.

The new standard can be viewed in the July issue of Joint Commission Perspectives.

Joint Commission releases Enterprise Content Library Index

The Joint Commission recently released its Enterprise Content Library (ECL) Index, a 177-page PDF of Joint Commission content organized by topic.

Topics include:
• Care Coordination & Transitions
• Diagnostic Imaging
• Emergency Management
• Facilities – EC & Life Safety
• Governance & Leadership
• Health IT & EHRs
• Human Resources
• Infection Control
• Laboratories

The ECL Index will be updated every quarter and the majority of its content is free. However, some items are only available to Joint Commission customers. Information can also be accessed for a fee. Click here to visit the Index.

California Department of Public Health gives deeming authority to Joint Commission for lab surveys

On June 3, the California Department of Health’s Laboratory Field Services granted deeming authority to The Joint Commission to survey clinical labs within the state. The accreditor proved that its standards matched the unique requirements of California clinical lab laws, according to a press release.

“We are pleased to receive this important deeming authority from LFS and are prepared to take on the responsibilities of inspection and oversight for clinical laboratories to ensure ongoing compliance with California law,” said Joint Commission executive director Stacy Olea, MT(ASCP), FACHE, in the release. “As a quality improvement organization, the deemed status will allow us to bring our dedication to patient safety and quality care to the forefront of clinical laboratories across California.”