In March of 2020, The Joint Commission (TJC), an accreditor for thousands of healthcare facilities across the US, suspended most surveys. Understanding that the healthcare system was becoming overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic, they sought to give facilities the room to focus on addressing the pandemic rather than using resources preparing for surveys. After a brief hiatus, surveys resumed in the summer of 2020.
Now that surveys have resumed, it is important to know what has changed in the survey process and how you can be better prepared. The survey process looks "somewhat different" according to TJC.
Surveyors will, of course, be wearing masks and employing social distancing practices in an effort to avoid passing or receiving COVID-19. A few other changes are that the number of individuals in group sessions will be limited, video conference calls will be utilized whenever possible, and technology will be used whenever possible to eliminate the need for multiple people to sit together for any extended period of time.
Additionally, TJC surveyors are not going to be looking for retroactive compliance or even the proper implementation of an organization's emergency operations plan. TJC said, "Rather, we will work to understand how you have adapted to the pandemic and review your current practices to assure you are providing safe care and working in a safe environment." Considering all the ways in which healthcare changed last year, TJC allows for some wiggle room.
Even though most facilities were not able to stick to and address much of what was in their Infection Prevention and Control Plan for 2020, what's most important is that the plan was adjusted to make COVID-19 the priority. TJC's standard IC.03.01.01 EP1 explains that hospitals must evaluate their Infection Control Plan at least annually and whenever there is a significant risk change. If anything qualifies as a change in risk, the COVID-19 pandemic certainly does!
Despite all the changes, most things will remain the same with regards to TJC surveys. Passing one of these inspections should not be about last-minute changes and anxiety-inducing fear. By keeping up proven and scientifically based procedures, your facility's next survey could be a breeze.
On top of that, CS Medical is always working on ways to facilitate the process of high-level disinfection while ensuring your facility can stay up to date with everything needed to retain your accreditation. Our automatic TEE probe cleaners and disinfectors (TEEClean®, the TD 100®, and the TD 200®), all offer different methods for record retention to help you have everything ready for your next TJC survey.
The TD 100 and TD 200 both provide you with printouts at the conclusion of each disinfection cycle that can be stored in the HLD Tracker with any additional notes, like the results of electrical leakage tests. The TEEClean provides printouts, but also retains up to 15,000 records that can be downloaded at any time. These records are exactly what is needed by TJ surveyors and do not violate pertinent HIPAA laws relating to patient information.
The TEE Complete Care Process is designed to foster best practices for infection prevention when it comes to reprocessing TEE ultrasound probes. Each step in the process should be followed to ensure best results every time. At CS Medical, we know how hard it can be to keep up with all the latest research on best practices, which is why, when it comes to TEE probes, we do it for you.