The Joint Commission will develop new accreditation standards addressing cultural issues in patient-centered care, with a targeted 2011 effective date.
Through a Commonwealth Fund grant, the commission will study whether diversity, culture, language and health literacy issues should be folded into current standards or written as new requirements. The work builds off the commissions ongoing Hospitals, Language and Culture: A Snapshot of the Nation study. That report and its follow-up study indicated hospitals approach cultural sensitivity and responsiveness with a wide range of methods, which have an impact on patient safety and quality of care.
Some standards already address cultural issues, such as the requirement for facilities to provide translation services, but the new program would establish guidelines for better management of cultural needs, a commission spokesman said. The review process includes a public comment period, and the commission will work with the National Health Law Program to develop an implementation schedule for the new standards.