Accreditation

Joint Commission EC and LS chapter revisions in the works for 2018

Briefings on Accreditation and Quality, June 2, 2017

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After a year of anticipation, Joint Commission surveyors finally started checking for compliance with the 2012 Life Safety Code® (LSC) and Health Care Facilities Code. The changes apply to the accreditor’s Environment of Care (EC) and Life Safety (LS) chapters. One set of chapter revisions took effect in January, with additional revisions to be implemented in July 2017 and in early 2018.

Though there is an urge to procrastinate on the proposals while CMS works on specific expectations, shrewd facilities managers will recognize the National Fire Protection Agency’s (NFPA) two codebooks as containing keys to their own success, said George Mills, director of engineering for The Joint Commission, during an April webinar hosted by the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE).

“You need to have both of these documents on your desk, I believe, to be successful on anything that you do related to healthcare,” Mills said. The two codes are already mandatory for healthcare facilities, he noted, even though the wording in the Joint Commission’s EC and LS chapters are still evolving.

“The actual language here is proposed language. It may be modified. It may be edited,” Mills said, noting that his team was awaiting the signoff of CMS officials. “My thinking is, probably this fall, we’ll have a pretty good idea where we’re at with these and be able to do a pre-publication release like we did last year in November.”

Facilities shouldn’t be lax while waiting for the revisions to be fully hammered out and codified. Mills says that this is a time to be proactive; looking at what’s in store and planning accordingly. 
Below are several selected proposed changes, as explained by Mills. (The full webinar will be made available at www.ashe.org/education/ondemand.shtml)

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