New accreditation standards have been established by The Joint Commission to encourage equity efforts within healthcare organizations. Beginning Jan. 1, new mandates will be included as part of accreditation programs for leaders of hospitals, critical access facilities, behavioral health centers and primary care clinics.
The updated standards include a requirement that an individual be designated to lead a strategy to reduce health disparities. Healthcare organizations will also be required to screen patients for social determinants of health, and provide information on community resources and support services.
Accredited organizations will also be required by the commission to include demographic breakdowns in quality and safety data, to help organizations identify disparities within health outcomes. The Joint Commission will then require the organizations to use this information to develop a written action plan intended to address at least one of the identified disparities. Providers must then track progress and provide annual, internal updates to stakeholders, leadership and staff.
The Joint Commission intends to offer related educational programs and resources to assist healthcare organizations in meeting the new standards. Click here for more information about the requirements.