New ACPC program to replace current Perinatal Care Certification
Beginning Jan. 1, 2023, The Joint Commission — in collaboration with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) — will offer Advanced Certification in Perinatal Care (ACPC) to accredited and nonaccredited hospitals and critical access hospitals with perinatal care programs.
Currently, The Joint Commission certifies perinatal care programs in almost 60 healthcare organizations through its Perinatal Care (PNC) Certification Program. However, the new ACPC will replace the current PNC certification.
ACPC goes beyond the current certification to encompass all pregnancies while focusing on high-risk areas for maternal morbidity and mortality, such as mental health disorders, including substance use; addressing social needs; and identifying health care disparities. This new program will ensure that organizations provide integrated, coordinated, patient-centered care that begins with prenatal care and continues through postpartum care.
The ACPC program was developed with a Technical Advisory Panel of clinical experts with knowledge in this type of care. ACPC standards incorporate the latest research, best practices, and federal regulations to improve quality and safety for pregnant or postpartum patients and newborns.
Components of the new program include the following:
- Conducting tracer activities during review.
- Evaluating consistent communication and effective collaboration among all healthcare providers involved in the care of the pregnant or postpartum patients and newborns starting during prenatal care through postpartum care.
- Demonstrating the application of and compliance with clinical practice guidelines or evidence-based practices, which may include practice bulletins and recommendations published by organizations such as ACOG; Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN); Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM); and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
- Collecting data on the following Perinatal Care program measures, including compliance with measure thresholds for applicable measures at initial application and recertification:
- PC-01: Elective Delivery
- PC-02: Cesarean Birth (Compliance with threshold criteria required.)
- PC-05: Exclusive Breast Milk Feeding
- PC-06.1: Unexpected Complications in Term Newborns (Compliance with threshold criteria required.)
Organizations may apply for this certification if they meet general eligibility requirements that include having a minimum of 40 deliveries per year and compliance with the measure threshold criteria for performance rates on PC-02 and PC-06.1 (severe rate only):
- PC-02: Cesarean Birth — Threshold will be set at fewer than or equal to 30%.
- PC-06.1: Unexpected Complications in Term Newborns — Severe rate threshold will be set at 50 complications per 1,000 live births, which is a rate of 5%.
The performance rates used will be an aggregate performance rate (sum of numerators divided by sum of denominators). The aggregate denominator cases must total no fewer than 30 cases for each performance rate calculated for PC-02, and PC-06.1 (severe rate). Data for the performance rates will be due on the application and must be provided at the initial certification review. No fewer than four months of data for all Perinatal Care core measures must be available at the initial certification review (for recertification, 24 months of data are required).
Hospitals and critical access hospitals may pre-apply for this certification in July 2022 to indicate their commitment to pursuing certification and entering the queue for reviews beginning in 2023. The official application will be available on Jan. 1, 2023.
Learn more or view the prepublication standards.