Reminder: Gift policy during holiday season
Occasionally, and particularly during the holiday season, staff at accredited, certified, and verified health care organizations want to provide Joint Commission surveyors and reviewers with gifts. Although appreciative of these kind thoughts, The Joint Commission has a gift policy that prohibits the acceptance of any gifts. This policy is designed to ensure the integrity of The Joint Commission’s accreditation, certification, and verification decision process, as well as to ensure independence in business judgment.
The Joint Commission’s official policy regarding what can be accepted from health care organizations seeking accreditation, certification, and/or verification with respect to gifts is summarized as follows:
- Joint Commission employees involved with the accreditation, certification, and verification decision process (specifically, surveyors and reviewers) cannot accept any gift of value from a surveyed/reviewed or accredited/certified/verified organization. A modest on-site meal is acceptable for efficiency purposes and is not considered a gift.
- Very few exceptions are allowable for accepting gifts. To avoid any potential conflicts of interest, it is in the best interest of organizations—as well as surveyors and reviewers—if no gifts are offered.
- Cash, cash equivalents, or entertainment cannot be accepted.
- If an organization feels it necessary to provide something, then promotional mementos and souvenirs of nominal value are not considered gifts and can be accepted if given after the survey or review and when there is no apparent attempt to influence a business decision. A gift of “nominal value” is an item of little value, such as a promotional item (for example, a pen, coffee mug, cap, T-shirt) that carries an organization name or logo. Good judgment and caution are necessary in these situations.
Note: Gifts can include anything of value given to or by Joint Commission employees, including cash; gratuities; meals (except for moderate on-site meals); gift certificates; tickets to sporting events, cultural or community events, or invitations to performance or other events; favors (specially arranged for the recipient and not commonly offered to everyone); discounts; free services; space; equipment; loans; education; lodging; or transportation. Gifts do not include emergency healthcare, security, or safety provisions to protect staff while on-site for consultation or survey/review.