Outpatient Facilities Struggling With Joint Commission Infection Control Standards

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The Joint Commission has released its top 10 challenging standards through the first half of 2019 for accredited ambulatory healthcare organizations and office-based surgery practices. High on both lists are multiple infection control standards.

These are requirements identified most frequently as "not compliant" during surveys and reviews from January through June.

For ambulatory healthcare organizations, infection control standards take two of the top three spots on the list. IC.02.02.01 (The organization reduces the risk of infections associated with medical equipment, devices and supplies.) is first with a reported 60% non-compliance. Coming in third is IC.02.01.01 (The organization implements infection prevention and control activities.) with 52% non-compliance.).

The non-infection control standard rounding out the top three is LS 03.01.35 (The organization provides and maintains equipment for extinguishing fires.), which came in second with a reported 56% non-compliance.

The same infection control standards in the top three for ambulatory healthcare organizations are in the top three most challenging for office-based surgery practices. IC.02.02.01 is second with a reported 56% non-compliance. Coming in third is IC.02.01.01 with 30% non-compliance.

HR.02.01.03 (The organization grants initial, renewed, or revised clinical privileges to individuals who are permitted by law and the organization to practice independently.) took the first spot with 61% non-compliance.

Two other infection control standards appear on the office-based surgery practices list and are tied with several other standards as the sixth most challenging with a reported 22% non-compliance: IC.01.03.01 (The organization identifies infection risks based on the following: Its geographic location, community and population served.) and IC.02.04.01 (The organization facilitates staff receiving the influenza vaccination.).

It comes as no surprise to see infection control standards proving difficult for outpatient organizations. These requirements were also some of the most challenging from 2018 and reflect ongoing observations made by ICCS infection control consultants during on-site visits.