Joint Commission’s new emergency management standards take effect Nov. 15

Dozens of new or revised elements of performance have been included in the Joint Commission’s new emergency management standards, which will be the basis for accreditation surveys beginning on Nov. 15.

The requirements were developed in response to CMS’s emergency preparedness rule finalized in Sept. 2016. The rule required providers and suppliers to develop emergency plans for a number of scenarios, craft a communication plan for coordinating with patients and outside agencies and train staff on the emergency plans with twice-yearly drills, unless an actual emergency tests a facility’s preparedness.

Home health settings will see the greatest number of changes in the Joint commission’s new requirements, with 39 new or revised elements of performance29 changes will apply to ambulatory settings while hospitals and critical access hospitals (CAHs) each have 21 new requirements.

Those new requirements for facilities’ include:

  • Inpatient hospices, home health agencies and ambulatory surgical centers have to identify alternative sites of care in their emergency plans and outline how they’ll transport patients or residents and the necessary supplies and staff.
  • In all four settings, facilities need systems to track the location on on-duty staff during emergencies.
  • Hospitals and CAHs need alternative means of providing lighting (not just electricity), as well as power for utility systems the hospital considers essential, such as heating and cooling, steam for sterilization and elevators.
  • For hospitals with transplant centers, representatives must be involved in developing the emergency plan and protocols for duties of the hospital, transplant center and the organ procurement organization for the hospital’s donation service area.