Interim Guidance for Instructor & Provider Certifications (CPR, BLS, ACLS, etc)

What are Joint Commission’s expectations when staff are unable to renew certifications when re-certification programs may not be available during a declared disaster ?

Any examples are for illustrative purposes only.

The following applies to certifications required by the organization, but NOT required by law/regulation (see HR.01.01.01 EP 1. For BHC, see HRM.01.02.01):

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.

For example, on March 31, 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 120 days.
  • For provider cards, the AHA recommends considering extensions of up to 120 days, but this recommendation could be extended based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat. The Joint Commission will honor this extension if recognized by the 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.

UPDATE 7/23/20:  The AHA released additional guidance that would allow a special exception to those areas which remain in or are now in affected areas, and still may have restrictions in place to extend expiration dates up to October 2020. The Joint Commission will not prohibit this extension, in accordance with the guidance provided on the AHA website. However, when such physical distancing restrictions are lifted or reduced, organizations should work to complete the training and certification as quickly as possible (prior to the October 2020 expiration).
Organizations should monitor the 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.
Last updated on September 10, 2020
Manual: Hospital and Hospital Clinics
Chapter: Human Resources HR

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