Home Care Bulletin - Issue 1, 2021
Home Care Bulletin is published by The Joint Commission’s Department of Corporate Communications.
March 23, 2021
The Joint Commission enterprise conducted an online questionnaire in September 2020 among health care organizations that work with The Joint Commission, Joint Commission Resources, Inc. and the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare to learn about the needs of health care organizations in the current and evolving pandemic environment.
The questionnaire — administered by C+R Research — had a total of 735 respondents, representing a variety of health care settings. It assessed needs for enhancements, changes and improvements to patient safety and quality of care amid COVID-19 by focusing on these key areas:
- Self-reported impact of COVID-19 on organizations: Most survey participants report a medium to high impact on their organizations from COVID-19 and often perceive a higher impact than the number of COVID-19 cases in their area may have indicated.
- Greatest COVID-19 challenges faced: Health care organizations across all settings report facing common challenges during COVID-19, including staffing issues, obtaining supplies/supply shortages, and implementing safety protocols and guidelines.
- Staffing changes resulting from COVID-19: Survey participants report the most common changes resulting from COVID-19 include increased communication to keep staff updated on changes and to support their well-being, increased working-from-home activities and changed plans to deal with staffing shortages.
- Protocol/organizational changes resulting from COVID-19: Establishing and updating protocols such as infection prevention and emergency management plans and procuring additional PPE and supplies for immediate use are the most common COVID-19 organizational changes reported by survey participants.
- COVID-19 resource importance: Valuable resources survey participants identify are those that help them monitor changes and adapt plans accordingly — specifically, communications on regulatory/guideline changes resulting from COVID-19, information on modifications to infection prevention plans and additional training as federal/state/local recommendations evolve.
Visit The Joint Commission’s COVID-19 resource page.
March 23, 2021
The latest issue of Sentinel Event Alert — the first in a new special-edition series — addresses concerns received from health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic and provides learnings and examples that may be helpful as health care organizations continue to respond and prepare for future challenges that will require safe, healthy and engaged health care workers.
In “Voices from the pandemic: Health care workers in the midst of crisis,” Sentinel Event Alert examines how the continuing onslaught of COVID-19 is pushing health care organizations to their limits and workers beyond physical exhaustion. These kinds of traumatic experiences underscore the critical importance of supporting health care workers who bear the burden of crisis situations along with patients and families.
As a sounding board and source of information to America’s health care organizations, The Joint Commission is in a unique position to understand and shed light on their collective experience during the pandemic, which is expected to continue with high rates of infection and mortality despite the rollout of vaccines that started in December, according to public health experts.
Read Sentinel Event Alert.
March 23, 2021
The Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare has launched a Home Health Falls project to prevent patient falls. The Center is leading the Home Health Falls improvement project in collaboration with the Center for Patient Safety and four home health agencies: Visiting Nurse Service of New York; VNA Care of New England in Rhode Island; VNA Health in Santa Barbara, California; and HopeHealth in Lincoln, Rhode Island.
Patient falls are a significant barrier to safe health care that will only increase as the population of adults 65 years or older continues to grow. Fall-related injuries at home are among the leading causes of readmission to acute care hospitals in the United States, costing home health services and long-term care facilities $29.2 billion on fall-related injuries in 2015.
“Tens of thousands of patients fall while under home health care every year, and many of these falls result in moderate to severe injuries,” said Anne Marie Benedicto, Vice President, Center for Transforming Healthcare. “These falls and injuries can be prevented, and we are pleased to see forward-looking organizations partner to stop patient falls. As the population of the United States ages, it is increasingly urgent that we understand why patients fall and implement sustainable solutions that prevent patients from falling.”
The team anticipates completing the project in December 2021, at which time the Center will pilot the work with other home health agencies to share lessons and solutions.
Learn more about the Center.
March 23, 2021
The Joint Commission has made standards and glossary changes for both deemed-status hospice organizations and deemed-status home health agencies to match more closely with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Conditions of Participation (CoPs). The changes for hospices were made in response to The Joint Commission's application for continued deeming authority, and the changes for home health organizations were made in response to revisions to the CMS CoPs.
The changes went into effect on March 14.
Last year, CMS released two final rules that updated requirements for home health agencies:
- Additional Policy and Regulatory Revisions in Response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
- Home Health Prospective Payment System Rate Update, Home Health Quality Reporting Program Requirements, and Home Infusion Therapy Services and Supplier Enrollment Requirements; and Home Health Value-Based Purchasing Model Data Submission Requirements
CMS will now permit an allowed practitioner to perform many duties previously granted only to physicians in its regulations. An allowed practitioner includes a:
- Clinical nurse specialist
- Nurse practitioner
- Physician assistant
Though CMS has made this change to the CoPs, state laws may have additional restrictions or requirements. The Joint Commission will survey to the highest standard. (Contact: Trudie Meeks, firstname.lastname@example.org)
March 23, 2021
The Joint Commission has approved minor revisions to its Accreditation Participation Requirements (APR) chapter for its Home Care Accreditation Program. These revisions — which will go into effect on July 1 — include minor language changes and removal of requirements addressing the Focused Standards Assessment (FSA), as the intracycle monitoring process and FSA are more fully addressed in the Accreditation Process chapter.
March 23, 2021
The Joint Commission has made changes to its Emergency Management (EM) Standard EM.03.01.03 to provide better guidance and consistency for its Home Care Accreditation Program. The revision will go into effect on July 1. The expectation of this standard is that an accredited organization conducts exercises to assess the adequacy and effectiveness of its emergency management plan regarding logistics, human resources, training, policies, procedures and protocols.
March 23, 2021
The Joint Commission and Joint Commission Resources (JCR), Inc. have launched a new data transparency initiative – DASH™ (Data Analytics for Safe Healthcare) — that offers three business intelligence tools in the form of dashboards and performance improvement resources to power customers’ performance improvement efforts on their journey to zero harm.
The three business intelligence tools include:
- Accelerate PI™ (The Joint Commission): Provides data on quality measures selected because of their validity, importance and known evidence-based improvement strategies. It compares an organization to national, state and Joint Commission-accredited organization averages.
- SAFER® Dashboard (The Joint Commission): Presents the findings from accreditation survey reports in a dashboard to empower timely, data-driven decisions that drive the delivery of safe, high-quality care.
- Illuminate Analytics™ (JCR): Offers greater visibility on the collective performance of a JCR customer to help draw meaningful, actionable conclusions from disparate data sources (i.e. Tracers with AMP® and consulting data).
“The data DASH provides will help organizations see at a glance their greatest needs and opportunities for improvement in key areas,” said David W. Baker, MD, MPH, FACP, Executive Vice President for Health Care Quality Evaluation, The Joint Commission. “With DASH, health care leaders can easily see how they compare to their peers and to the performance of leading organizations.”
DASH’s three business intelligence tools are or are anticipated to be available to home health and hospice Joint Commission accredited health care organizations and/or select JCR E-product customers in 2021. There is no additional fee to use DASH or any of its business intelligence tools.