The Joint Commission Postpones Release of New Hospital Requirements

May 16, 2014

In December 2013, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) updated its interpretive guidelines and survey procedures for Medicare Condition of Participation, which addresses maintaining hospital facilities, supplies, and equipment as an acceptable level of safety and quality.

CMS’s guidance clarifies the circumstances when a hospital may adjust its maintenance, inspection, and testing activities for facility and medical equipment from what is recommended by the manufacturer. As a result of this clarification, The Joint Commission has determined that two new elements of performance for deemed status hospitals are needed: 1) the hospital inspects, tests, and maintains medical equipment, and 2) the hospital inspects, tests, and maintains utility systems. The new requirements are also available on The Joint Commission website.

The changes were intended to be effective July 1, 2014, with additional changes to be phased in by 2015. However, significant issues were raised and it was determined that the implementation of the revised diagnostic imaging requirements should be postponed. The goal is to implement a comprehensive set of requirements by July 2015, rather than partial sets over 2014 and 2015.