Joint Commission announces new requirements on obstetrics

Hospitals accredited by the Joint Commission which offer services for labor and delivery will have three new documentation elements of performance (EPs) beginning on July 1.

“These EPs are designed to improve the identification of mothers upon admission to labor and delivery who are at risk for transmitting certain infectious diseases to their newborns so that the mother and/or the newborn can be treated promptly to prevent harm,” the commission said.

Applying to both hospitals and critical access hospitals (CAHs), the new EPs deal with testing for and documenting the following diseases:

  • HIV
  • Hepatitis B
  • Group B Streptococcus (GBS)
  • Syphilis

Hospitals will have to document their status of those disease in the patient’s medical record upon admission for labor or delivery. If disease status is unknown or no prenatal care had been recorded, the hospitals will need to test for those diseases. If the patient tests positive for any of those conditions, hospitals will need to ensure that information is also documented into the newborn’s medical record so they can be tested and treated.

“Some electronic health record systems are programmed to automatically transfer this information from the mother’s record to the newborn’s record; however, this is not always the case,” the commission said in its rationale for the new requirements.