All that’s left is a tiny glimmer…

By Steve MacArthur, Hospital Safety Consultant

…Of the days when the river was running free.

Now that we’ve turned full on into July (I’m parched just thinking about it), The Joint Commission survey process is going to (at least for a time) include a focus on the new (meet the new boss, same as the old boss) Emergency Management chapter and all that entails.

I will continue to stand by my assertion that compliance with the changes (such as they are) is a by-product of how your organization has been responding these last 2+ years, with two (I think fairly minor) exceptions, though one may have been in the mix. Those items that seem to be rather more exceptional than not relate to the requirements for reunification of families in the aftermath of an emergency (I don’t think COVID has had much of an impact on this concern, but please feel free to convince me otherwise) and those requirements relating to evacuation (though, perhaps, in standing up and standing down COVID units, etc., you used it as an opportunity to practice your evacuation planning and response).

I think the key piece of this all is to make sure that you have good documentation of performance evaluations in the six critical areas—communications, staffing, patient care, resources and assets, safety and security, critical utility systems—either in your after-action reports or as a separate evaluation process. I have no reason to think that surveyors will not be looking for evaluations, so please think about how you would respond to that request if you do not already have something in place.

To close this week’s epistle, the July implementation date of the new EM chapter brings with it a big ol’ bunch of FAQs for your viewing pleasure:

And, as always, a good page to bookmark is the emergency management resources page: https://www.jointcommission.org/resources/patient-safety-topics/emergency-management/. You’ll notice that the resources page links from the “patient safety topics” conversation, so make sure that folks understand that ensuring patients are safe throughout the response and recovery phases is the primary directive.

About the Author: Steve MacArthur is a safety consultant with Chartis Clinical Quality Solutions (formerly known as The Greeley Company) in Danvers, Mass. He brings more than 30 years of healthcare management and consulting experience to his work with hospitals, physician offices, and ambulatory care facilities across the country. He is the author of HCPro's Hospital Safety Director's Handbook and is contributing editor for Healthcare Safety Leader. Contact Steve at stevemacsafetyspace@gmail.com.

Found in Categories: 
Emergency Management, Joint Commission