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New Joint Commission standards address rising maternal mortality in the US

Report provides requirements, rationale and references in support of improvements Thursday, August 29 2019

Maureen Lyons
Corporate Communications

(OAKBROOK TERRACE, Illinois, August 29, 2019) – The United States ranks 65th among industrialized nations in terms of maternal mortality. To help improve this statistic and lessen instances of maternal death and/or morbidity, The Joint Commission has introduced two new standards, effective July 1, 2020, to address complications in the areas of maternal hemorrhage and severe hypertension/preeclampsia. 

The new standards will appear under the Provision of Care, Treatment and Services (PC) chapter at PC.06.01.01 and PC.06.01.03 in the Comprehensive Accreditation Manual for Hospitals. The standards address prevention, early recognition, and timely treatment of maternal hemorrhage and severe hypertension/preeclampsia. Some of the standards require Joint Commission-accredited hospitals to:

  • Develop written evidence-based procedures to identify and treat the conditions
  • Stock easily-accessed hemorrhage supply kits 
  • Provide role-specific education to all staff and providers who treat pregnant/postpartum patients at least every two years
  • Conduct response procedure drills at least annually
  • Educate patients on signs and symptoms that warrant care during hospitalization and after discharge 

To prepare hospitals to meet these new standards, The Joint Commission has issued a new R3 Report that provides guidelines for the 13 new elements of performance (EPs) that fall under the standards. The report provides the requirement, rationale and reference for each EP. 

The standards were developed based on recommendations from The Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health (AIM) program’s maternal safety bundles that provide best practices for maternity care, and with advice from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative (CMQCC) and other national experts. 

In addition to compiling data from an extensive literature review and public field review, The Joint Commission consulted with a Technical Advisory Panel (TAP) of subject matter experts in maternal health and a Standards Review Panel (SRP) of clinicians and administrators to provide an insider’s perspective.  

The prepublication version of the maternal safety standards is available online until June 30, 2020. After July 1, 2020, the new requirements may be accessed in the E-dition or standards manual. 


About The Joint Commission
Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value. The Joint Commission accredits and certifies more than 22,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. An independent, nonprofit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. Learn more about The Joint Commission at



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