February 03, 2009 | | Comments 0
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Inside info: Joint Commission document notes EC tracer as part of formal survey agenda

Hi everyone, it’s Scott Wallask. We don’t have full details yet, but the internal Surveyor Survey Activity Guide given to surveyors by The Joint Commission indicates that EC tracers are now a formal part of the EC and emergency management session during accreditation visits.

Is this earth-shattering news? No, it isn’t. But it once again points to inconsistencies about what The Joint Commission (formerly JCAHO) tells accredited hospitals versus what it tells its surveyors.

The Surveyor Survey Activity Guide — a portion of which HCPro obtained — breaks down the EC and emergency management session for 2009 as follows:

  • Emergency management discussion (40% of session time)
  • EC discussion (40% of session time)
  • EC observation and tracer (20% of session time)

Meanwhile, the familiar emergency management tracer, which was part of EC session activities in years past for hospitals with 200 or more beds, will now be conducted during regular tracer activity outside of the EC session.

The wording of the internal Surveyor Survey Activity Guide differs from the publicly posted Survey Activity Guide that hospital managers and others can download from The Joint Commission’s Web site. The latter document doesn’t mention a specific EC tracer will be conducted during the EC session, and still shows the emergency management tracer as part of the EC session.

Ultimately, these differences likely don’t point to changes in the survey process, but rather how surveyors go about reviewing a hospital.

If these types of Joint Commission updates interest you, please join us at the 3rd Annual Hospital Safety Center Symposium, which takes place May 14-15 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Not only is the symposium a convenient way to stay on top of the latest hospital safety happenings, but an early-bird discount and reduced room rates at Caesars are making our event an increasingly economical choice, too. I’d love to meet you out there.

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Scott Wallask About the Author: Scott Wallask is senior managing editor for HCPro's Hospital Safety Center (www.hospitalsafetycenter.com) and the award-winning newsletters, Briefings on Hospital Safety and Healthcare Life Safety Compliance. He has written about healthcare for HCPro since 1998, with a focus on occupational and building safety, emergency management, fire protection, and infection control. Prior to joining HCPro, he worked as a reporter for several newspapers in eastern Massachusetts. He holds a BA in print journalism, magna cum laude, from Northeastern University in Boston. Contact Scott at swallask@hcpro.com.

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