The Joint Commission (JC) announced yesterday that it will resume its regular surveying and reviews beginning in June. The JC will identify and prioritize low-risk organizations, and organizations due for a survey can expect to be contacted by the JC for an assessment of the impact that COVID-19 has had on the organization. Although surveying will resume, the JC announced there will be changes to the process to maintain social distancing and protect all parties involved. Those changes include:
- Limited number of individuals in meetings and increased use of audio and/or video conferencing.
- Use of masks by all surveyors. The JC expects the organization being surveyed to provide appropriate protective equipment for the JC surveyors.
- Use of technology to avoid extended periods of contact with an organization’s employees or to avoid entering high-risk areas. Examples include using screen-sharing to review electronic medical records and interviewing patients and staff by phone.
Additionally, the JC announced that it will not retroactively review an organization’s compliance and that the focus of the surveys will not be on emergency preparedness. Instead, the JC will review the ways in which the organization adapted to the pandemic and will review the organization’s operations to ensure it is providing safe environment for care and for its employees. The JC has provided a number of resources to assist health care organizations to address COVID-19 (available here).