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Interim Guidance for Instructor and Provider Certification


Robert Campbell PharmD, director, clinical standards interpretation for hospital/ambulatory programs 

Editor’s Note: This blog post is part of The Joint Commission’s daily communication on issues relevant to organizations managing the COVID-19 pandemic. The full list of FAQs is available here.

When certification training centers and instructors are limited or not available due to extenuating circumstances, such as a declared emergency, The Joint Commission will not prohibit a grace period as defined by the source that issues such certifications. This applies to certifications required by an organization, but NOT required by law/regulation (see standard HR.01.01.01, element of performance [EP] 1. For the Behavioral Health Care accreditation program, see standard HRM.01.02.01).

For example, on March 13, 2020 the American Heart Association (AHA) issued interim guidelines on extensions for instructor and provider cards during the COVID-19 outbreak.

  • For instructor cards, the AHA will allow an extension of the validity of the instructor card for 60 days.
  • For provider cards, the AHA recommends considering extensions of up to 60 days, but this recommendation could be extended based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat. The Joint Commission will honor this 60-day extension if recognized by an individual organization. 

The AHA has advised all AHA Training Centers and Instructors to follow the existing recommendations outlined on the World Health Organization (WHO) website, and in the U.S., refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations, as well as the guidance of national, state, and local public health authorities, which will have the most up-to-date facts and will provide information on basic protective measures against COVID-19.

Organizations should monitor a specific certification source website regularly for possible updates to training policies.  

For State issued licenses and certifications, the organization should follow guidance provided by that issuer.

The AHA provides the following resources:
AHA Instructor Network

NOTE:  Links to website(s) included in this FAQ may be helpful in the development of emergency plans, however, organizations should ensure they are accessing the most recent publication prior to implementing. 

Robert Campbell, PharmD, is director, Clinical Standards Interpretation Hospital / Ambulatory Programs and director, Medication Management. Prior to these roles, he served as the pharmacist for Clinical Standards Interpretation in the Division of Healthcare Improvement at The Joint Commission. Campbell also surveys as a field representative for The Joint Commission in the Hospital Accreditation and Critical Access Hospital Accreditation Programs and is a reviewer in the Medication Compounding Certification Program. Prior to joining The Joint Commission, Campbell worked in health care organizations and held leadership positions with oversight responsibilities for performance improvement, accreditation readiness, risk management, infection control, medical staff services, as well as inpatient and outpatient pharmacy services.