Joint Commission Resumes On-site Surveys

During the past nine months, nationwide hospital & healthcare accreditation organization, The Joint Commission, had suspended unannounced on-site surveys due to the pandemic. Instead of surprising healthcare facilities, The Joint Commission contacted them by phone/email to assess the safety and COVID-19 caseload before scheduling a survey.

However, prompted by the decrease in COVID-19 incidence and caseloads across the country, as of March 15, 2021, the suspension is over, and surprise, unannounced on-site inspections have resumed across the nation.

Meaning that Healthcare Facilities should no longer expect a call or email warning from an Account Executive prior to inspection. The Joint Commission is effectively returning to its original pre-pandemic procedures.

What Healthcare Facility Managers/CEOs Need To Know

The Joint Commission released an announcement about the resumed on-site surveys. Below is the gist of the statement.

First The announcement made it clear that the surveyors will be following strict COVID-19 protocols for their, and your team’s, safety. Surveyors will practice social distancing, wear protective equipment, and, when manageable, use technology such as video conferencing to aid social distancing efforts during their inspections.

Second  for those who want at least some indication of when the survey will happen, Mark Pelletier, COO of The Joint Commission, says that “organizations should continue to monitor the Notification of Scheduled Events section of their Joint Commission Connect® page for notification on the first day of the unannounced survey. Additionally, the Primary Accreditation Contact and CEO will continue to receive email notification of the scheduled event on the first day of the unannounced survey.”

Third  the Joint Commission will be prioritizing organizations with accreditation due dates that are past due. And, if your area has been deemed still unsafe for onsite inspection, you can expect a call from your Account Executive. They will attempt to determine whether the survey can be conducted offsite or virtually.

Lastly  if you believe there are extenuating circumstances that create a serious challenge to your organization’s ability to handle an on-site survey, The Joint Commission recommends that you contact your Account Executive.

We’re Here To Help

We know that compliance changes like these can add serious stress to already busy healthcare facility workers, especially when they pop-up during periods that are already unpredictable enough. We recently expanded the scope of our SmartRounds solution to digitize healthcare compliance surveys like Environment of Care & Life Safety Surveys.

So, if you have any questions about how to best prepare for and handle these on-site surveys, or how you can use digital survey records to pinpoint actionable insights, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Vitralogy team.


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