Fewer Ambulatory Care Standards... What’s Not to Like? | Joint Commission
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Fewer Ambulatory Care Standards... What’s Not to Like?

May 03, 2017 | 2591 Views

By Joyce Webb
Project Director
Division of Standards & Survey Methods
The Joint Commission

By The Numbers
After a thorough review – which began with the Hospital program – The Joint Commission recently deleted 85 elements of performance (EPs) from the Ambulatory Health Care (AHC) accreditation program and 50 EPs from the Office-Based Surgery (OBS) program (see chart below). The deletions removed EPs that:

  • Were duplicative
  • Have been in place for years, but addressed concepts that are now a routine part of clinical operations
  • No longer addressed contemporary quality and safety concerns
  • Are adequately addressed by law and regulation or other external requirements

The Bottom Line
Frankly, we discovered these EPs were no longer needed. There a lot of things organizations do to make sure they provide safe and effective patient care, but not everything needs to be addressed through a Joint Commission requirement. The changes we’ve made here will help organizations focus on what’s most important. 


The new EP deletions will be effective July 1, 2017. A full list of the deleted AHC and OBS elements of performance is provided for your review in the May issue of our monthly newsletter, Perspectives.

Deletion Exceptions
Of course, not every EP deleted from the original review (impacting the Hospital program) carried over into the Ambulatory Care program. Some notable exceptions include the following:

  • In some cases, an EP that was deleted from the Hospital program had to be retained for Ambulatory Care because it is a specific Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) requirement (CMS requirements are not the same across all programs). 
  • Finally, there were some unique program issues that required retention of an EP that was deleted for hospitals.

We’re Pleased!
Michael Kulczycki, Executive Director, Ambulatory Care Services, observes “We know ambulatory care organizations are busier than ever and need to spend their valuable time delivering high quality patient care,  not fulfilling irrelevant standards. We’ve listened to customer requests for more appropriate and impactful standards and are pleased to further streamline our requirements.  This project – which fulfills the aims of simplification & relevancy – is one of many process improvement components of Project REFRESH.”

Stay tuned, there’s more to come… the next phase of this ongoing standards maintenance review will involve additional consolidations of existing requirements!

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