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Joint Commission Releases Pre-publication Standards

Matt Phillion, for HealthLeaders Media, October 7, 2009

The Joint Commission has released the prepublication versions of its 2010 standards for all programs, now available online.

The Joint Commission traditionally unveils the standards for the coming year a month or more in advance. These will remain posted until December 1, 2009, at which point both the electronic (e-dition) and print version of the 2010 manual will be distributed to hospitals.

In conjunction with the release of the prepublication standards, The Joint Commission has also released a report, free of charge, detailing CMS-related changes to its standards and survey processes. The report—distributed as part of a free edition of Perspectives—looks back through March 2009 at various changes made as part of The Joint Commission's application to CMS for renewed deeming authority this year.

What have we seen in terms of changes this year?

The Accreditation Survey Findings Report has been modified as of July 1, 2009. It now includes requirements surveyed as below fully compliant for both Joint Commission standards and CMS requirements.

We have also seen changes to CMS Certification Numbers. Though this change effects only a small group of hospitals, it is a pivotal change for those organizations—and The Joint Commission will contact directly every hospital impacted by this change, which will go into effect on July 15, 2010.

The Joint Commission's Medicare recommendation letter has been altered. It now informs CMS if a new or existing Medicare provider has participated in a deemed status survey. Also, it states whether The Joint Commission, as a result of that survey is making a recommendation about that provider's Medicare status.

Finally, the hospital standards have been updated to improve "equivalency" with CMS hospital requirements. Elements of Performance were both added and revised to improve this balance.

Of note for the credentialing world: along with the prepublication standards, The Joint Commission has released details on credentialing and privileging with regards to proxy and telemedicine. Changes are expected to be implemented July 15, 2010. Please note that The Joint Commission is still in talks with CMS about telemedicine credentialing, and until a formal agreement can be reached, hospitals will be surveyed according to existing CMS requirements.

All of these documents can be found online at The Joint Commission's Web site.


Matt Phillion, CSHA, is senior managing editor of Briefings on The Joint Commission and senior editorial advisor for the Association for Healthcare Accreditation Professionals (AHAP).

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