Updates to Joint Commission's accreditation process during the pandemic

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The Joint Commission outlined the COVID-19 pandemic's effect on accredited ASCs and plans for future surveys in a March 1 blog post.

Five takeaways:

1. The Joint Commission saw an increased preference for virtual accreditation surveys. Accredited organizations were asked about their survey preferences during the pandemic, and 38 percent of respondents said they wanted a virtual one. Eighteen percent preferred an in-person survey, and 44 percent liked a hybrid option with both in-person and virtual surveys.

2. Fifty-eight percent of ASCs surveyed reported less financial stability in 2020. However, 47 percent of accredited ASCs reported a rebound and expected greater financial stability in 2021. 

3. Some ASCs used CMS 1135 waivers to increase hospital capacity. The "Hospitals Without Walls" program has allowed healthcare systems to provide services at other locations to expand care capacity and develop COVID-19 treatment sites. 

4. The Joint Commission is updating standards and elements of performance in its emergency management chapter for accreditation programs.

5. The survey process is also being updated to enhance emergency management planning sessions. The Joint Commission is adding takeaways on disaster and trauma responses.

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