By Brian Ward
Critical access hospitals (CAHs) accredited by The Joint Commission (TJC) will be expected to implement National Patient Safety Goal (NPSG) Standard NPSG.15.01.01 starting July 1, 2020. This standard is aimed at preventing suicides among patient populations and has been posted on the prepublications standards pages. 
In the December edition of The Joint Commission’s Perspectives announcing the requirement, the accreditor noted concerns about the very high rate of suicides in rural communities that critical access hospitals serve. Suicide rates in rural counties are 25% higher than in urban areas. 
NPSG.15.01.01 has applied to hospitals and behavioral healthcare programs since 2007 and there were several significant standard changes  that took effect in 2019. The Joint Commission released a clarification about those changes in May 2019. 
Those who want to learn more about the suicide prevention NPSG are asked to contact Stacey Paul , RN, MSN, APN, PMHNP-BC, project director, clinical, Department of Standards and Survey Methods.