December 1, 2022
The end of 2022 brings with it some important news and exciting updates from The Joint Commission.
In September, The Joint Commission announced that it will review its “above and beyond” requirements—those that go beyond the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) conditions of participation (CoPs) and are not on crosswalks to CoPs.
“During the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE), CMS put many requirements on hold,” said Jonathan B. Perlin, MD, PhD, MSHA, MACP, FACMI, president and CEO of The Joint Commission. “As the PHE nears its end, CMS has been reviewing the waived requirements to determine whether some should be permanently retired. The Joint Commission will similarly address the necessity of our own unique requirements.”
The Joint Commission will review each requirement to answer:
Additionally, The Joint Commission will conduct quantitative analyses of scoring patterns and tests for redundancy. Where necessary, it also will conduct literature and field reviews and engage experts within the field.
“American healthcare still has a long way to go to fully recover from COVID-19 and to reach a new equilibrium, especially as we are now witnessing secondary effects from the pandemic,” Dr. Perlin stated. “At The Joint Commission, we are committed to working with you to help address the many challenges healthcare is facing, as well as to making our own requirements as efficient and impactful on patient safety and quality as possible.”
Dr. Perlin expanded on why The Joint Commission is conducting a comprehensive review of its "above and beyond" requirements in a September 14 interview with Modern Healthcare titled “Joint Commission Standards Under Review.”
In October, The Joint Commission announced that it joined the Sync for Social Needs coalition, which was part of the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, committing to a role in ending hunger and reducing diet-related disease in the US by 2030.
As the standards-setting organization for more than 22,000 US healthcare organizations, The Joint Commission is committed to working with participants to scale implementation to lower clinician burden to screen for social needs. The Joint Commission recognizes that the social determinants of health (SDOH)—the conditions in the environments where people live, learn, work, and play—can limit an individual’s access to nutritious foods.
Americans who lack access to nutritious food are disproportionately low-income, Black or Hispanic, or live in rural areas. Standardizing SDOH data collection and sharing is a crucial step in understanding and addressing the nature and extent of these issues.
“Health equity is among The Joint Commission’s highest priorities,” said Dr. Perlin. “By standardizing the collection and sharing of SDOH data, clinicians can be better prepared to tailor a patient’s care to their environment, access, and abilities. The Joint Commission looks forward to collaborating with some of the leading healthcare organizations in the US to address the SDOH that contribute to food insecurity.”
Furthering its commitment to health equity, The Joint Commission recently released new and revised requirements to reduce healthcare disparities that will go into effect January 1, 2023, for hospitals, critical access hospitals, and some segments of ambulatory healthcare, behavioral healthcare, and human services organizations.
The thoughts and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of Dr. Jacobs and do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Commission or the American College of Surgeons.
Dr. Lenworth Jacobs is a professor of surgery and professor of traumatology and emergency medicine at the University of Connecticut, and director of the Trauma Institute at Hartford Hospital, CT. He also is the Medical Director of the ACS STOP THE BLEED® program.