Joint Commission Revises Infection Control Scoring

The Joint Commission recently announced it is reevaluating the way it scores high-level disinfection (HLD) and sterilization to focus more closely on those process steps that pose the highest risk to patients and safety were they to fail.

More specifically, the revisions concern infection control standard IC.02.02.01, which requires organizations to reduce the infection risk associated with medical equipment, devices and supplies.

The decision comes following analysis by the Joint Commission of its survey data that indicated 72% of surveyed hospitals and critical access hospitals were found to be noncompliant with IC.02.02.01 while 79% of percent of ambulatory health care organizations and nearly 81% of office-based surgery centers practices surveyed in 2017 had at least one finding in the infection prevention and control chapter.

Areas of scoring that were revised are as follows:

  • Visible bioburden and dried blood found on instruments

  • Enzymatic solution was not applied to maintain moisture on instruments

  • Instruments were not transported from the point of use in a leak-proof puncture-resistant container with the biohazard symbol or color red

  • Instruments in the closed position

  • Instruments are released prior to the biologic indicator being read

  • Items in the high level-disinfected area that are stored in drawers

  • Stored scopes exceeded the hang time

View the new scoring revisions in the table on the bottom of this webpage.

The revised scoring took effect Sept. 1, 2018, with the Joint Commission noting that IC.02.02.01 findings recorded before that date will not be removed.

It is important to note that Joint Commission standards are applicable to all healthcare facilities providing services that require HLD and sterilization. Inpatient and outpatient facilities that are accredited by the Joint Commission are required to follow these standards if they are performing HLD and/or sterilization, regardless of setting. This includes hospitals, outpatient surgery centers, office-based surgery practices and outpatient clinics. In addition, dental clinics that are located within a health system accredited by the Joint Commission will be held accountable to these standards.