The Joint Commission is a non-profit, third-party organization that works to accredit US healthcare organizations and programs. A Joint Commission accreditation is focused on ensuring patient safety and quality of care, and the Joint Commission’s standards are aligned with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). To achieve accreditation, a hospital or healthcare organization must first undergo an accreditation survey.
A Joint Commission survey is an evaluation of your healthcare facility’s performance standards. Your organization must first pass an accreditation survey to become accredited. Once accredited, Joint Commission surveyors will visit your health care organization at least once every 36 months to ensure your facility is in compliance with Joint Commission standards. These visits are typically unannounced, which can make them tough to prepare for.
If your facility is expecting a Joint Commission survey or is working hard to stay ahead of your next Joint Commission Survey, here’s what you need to know to prepare, from what you can expect from the survey process, to what you’ll need to provide to maintain compliance.
A Joint Commission Survey is a long, rigorous evaluation process that can take anywhere from 2-5 days. As a fire protection and life safety systems provider, the Vanguard Fire & Safety team is very familiar with the building safety portion of the Joint Commission survey, and can help provide some pointers about what you should expect from that portion of the Joint Commission Survey.
What to Expect from a Joint Commission Survey:
Given that Joint Commission surveys are most often unannounced, many healthcare organizations wonder how it’s possible to prepare. The best way to remain prepared for a Joint Commission Survey is to ensure your facility and staff are always adhering to the Joint Commission’s performance standards in every action from patient care to building maintenance. Beyond that, you can take a few additional steps to make sure your facility has everything on hand in the event of an unannounced Joint Commission Survey:
As a fire protection and life safety system provider, the Vanguard team is most often asked questions regarding the life safety portion of the Joint Commission’s survey. The life safety or building safety component of the survey is focused on ensuring that every element of your building is safe for both patients and staff.
A large portion of the survey is dedicated to assessing the compliance and quality of building and fire safety practices, from preventing fires in your healthcare facility to regularly inspecting your hospital kitchen for fire hazards to practicing fire drills in your hospital, and more. Because this is such a significant portion of your survey, the Joint Commission offers a Building Tour Guidance sheet that outlines key elements that the Life Safety surveyor will assess.
The other key component of the life safety portion of the Joint Commission’s survey is their Life Safety & Environment of Care Document List and Review Tool.
One of the most important components of your Joint Commission survey is documentation. The Life Safety surveyor needs to be able to verify that your fire protection and life safety systems are not only functional but have also been inspected and maintained according to their standards.
The Vanguard Fire & Security Systems team works with hospitals and healthcare organizations to not only provide the inspections, testing, and maintenance you need but also all the information you need for proper documentation. Our digital documentation system makes it easy for your team to pull up service records in seconds, ensuring you always have the paperwork and documentation you need to present to your surveyor.
A Joint Commission survey is a stressful time for any healthcare organization or hospital. Working with Vanguard helps remove some of that stress. Our service plans ensure your systems are inspected, tested, and serviced according to Joint Commission standards, and our easy documentation tool makes sure you always have the proof you need to confirm that service is always done in compliance with the Joint Commission’s recommendations. For more information about fire protection and life safety systems, inspection, and repair, contact the team at Vanguard Fire & Security Systems.