At Home with The Joint Commission

A discussion highlighting developments in home health, DMEPOS, hospice, pharmacy and personal care.

Expanded Virtual Survey Options

09/01/2020

Our primary method for conducting surveys remains an on-site process, but we recognize limitations by the COVID-19 crisis. The Joint Commission is thrilled to be able to offer virtual solutions to help home care service providers meet regulatory requirements without risking the safety of their accredited organizations during the pandemic. 

Our most recent virtual survey offering applies to providers of home medical equipment. Recently approved by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), durable medical equipment (DMEPOS) providers can now be surveyed virtually to obtain Medicare recognition – for both initial and resurveys. 

This virtual survey consists of a review of policies and procedures, as well as required documents. It also contains all the components of a traditional on-site survey, including interviews and discussion with patients/caregivers. The length of the survey will be dependent upon the number of locations and the volume.

An organization is able to achieve accreditation with this survey  and will be required to have an additional on-site survey when the situation allows. For initial organizations, this will enable them to complete their 855S Medicare enrollment application and list The Joint Commission as their accrediting organization. 

Additional Virtual Survey Solutions
Additional home care providers/services able to be surveyed on a virtual basis include: 

Initial licensure survey (home health/hospice in California)
Using our early survey option , this process, for initial licensure in the state of California, includes a review of policies and procedures, as well as other required documents. The organization must attend a video conference with a Joint Commission surveyor to talk about its processes and documents. This one-day survey is followed by an appropriate on-site or virtual initial survey. An organization receives a Limited Temporary Accreditation after the early survey. 

Initial Medicare certification survey (home health/hospice)
This two-day virtual survey consists of a review of policies and procedures, as well as required documents. It also contains all the components of a traditional on-site survey, including interviews and discussion with patients/caregivers. 

The organization achieves accreditation with this survey and is required to have an additional on-site survey when the situation allows. An organization can be recommended for Medicare certification if they have no condition-level findings during the virtual survey. The organization may lose its certification during the follow-up survey if they have condition-level findings. 

Hospice organizations within the state of California who have received a temporary license
The Joint Commission understands that in certain situations, hospice organizations that have received a temporary license from the State of California will not need an early survey option survey for licensure. In these cases, we can conduct an initial Medicare deemed survey once they have met the minimum eligibility for survey – contact your account executive if this situation applies to you. 

The organization achieves accreditation with this survey and is required to have an additional on-site survey when the situation allows. An organization can be recommended for Medicare certification if they have no condition-level findings during the virtual survey. The organization may lose its certification during the follow-up survey if they have condition-level findings. 

Questions about the virtual survey options? Accredited organizations or recent applicants should contact their account executive for more information. If you’re new to the accreditation process, please call 630-792-5070 or .

Kathy Valencia is a field director at The Joint Commission.