Providers have six months to adjust to changes in the Joint Commissions 2009 revised standards, which go into effect Jan. 1. The standards have been streamlined and clarified to make them relevant to specific care settings, a Joint Commission spokesman said.
The reorganization of the commission's standards, rationales and elements of performance was part of a three-year project under its Standards Improvement Initiative. The 2009 revision is phase one of the ongoing project. The commission said that the revision also will increase objectivity in the survey process and allow for better accuracy in measuring hospital compliance with standards.
In addition to the revisions posted online, providers can use a history-tracking report to compare the revised standards to the current documents and see where elements have been renumbered or moved to different chapters.
Phase one focuses on acute-care hospitals, critical-access hospitals, ambulatory care, office-based surgery and home-care settings. Phase two, scheduled to take effect January 2010, will include revised standards for behavioral health, laboratory and long-term-care facilities. -- by Jean DerGurahian