The Joint Commission Resources

Joint Commission's Sentinel Event Policy Expanded to Non-Patients.  Beginning July 1, 2013, The Joint Commission (TJC) will expand the subset of reviewable sentinel events to include rape, assault (leading to death or permanent loss of function), or homicide of a staff member, licensed independent practitioner, visitor, or vendor while on site at the healthcare organization. TJC made this policy change based on its conclusion that an incident that occurs to non-patients presents security and safety concerns for everyone (including patients) and an organizational culture of safety should encompass all people within an organization. Such incidents will be required to be reviewed with the same process as a sentinel event involving a patient. For more information, contact Anita Giuntoli, director, TJC Office of Quality Monitoring, at

The Joint Commission will now expect hospitals to have strong relations with community providers to eliminate the current practice of holding behavioral health patients in Emergency Departments for extended periods.  These revised standards will take effect in 2013 and 2014. Surveyors will begin expecting to see hospital efforts to meet the standards as of January 2014.  Hospitals and their community partners need to begin addressing the issue now to be able to fulfill the requirement. (November 2012)

Joint Commission Top Compliance Issues  
The Joint Commission has released  standards-compliance data for accredited organizations.  Top standards-compliance issues for the first half of 2012 for hospitals include medical records documentation (61% non-compliance) and life-safety issues. Compliance issues cited for organizations surveyed under the behavioral healthcare standards include the plan for care and treatment of individuals served, assignment of clinical responsibilities for independent practitioners, and verification of staff qualifications. For more information, review the Standards Frequently Asked Questions.



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