The Joint Commission has suspended all regular, onsite surveys of hospitals and other healthcare organizations, effective March 16. In some cases, there may be a small number of surveys that continue such as high-risk situations. This decision will allow health care organizations and professionals to focus on preparing and caring for patients with COVID-19. 

At this time, The Joint Commission does not have an anticipated restart date. All postponed survey events will occur once normal operations are resumed. If any organizations go past their accreditation due date, accreditation will be extended without disruption to their accreditation status. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has assured that Medicare payment status will not be affected. 

The Joint Commission recommends hospitals, nursing homes and other facilities have a plan for managing a surge of infectious patients (Infection Control Standard 01.06.01). “We encourage hospitals to review their infection control and emergency management plans, assess whether they can rapidly and reliably implement their plans as designed, and modify their plans if needed based on this assessment,” the organization said in a statement.

In addition, The Joint Commission is working closely with its field staff and customers on plans to redirect resources to best assist health care organizations during this ever-changing and stressful time.  The entity’s affiliate organizations, Joint Commission Resources, Inc., Joint Commission International, and the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare, have also suspended all external engagements, including all consulting services and all international surveys.