Infection Control Standard is Joint Commission's Most Challenging for Ambulatory Care in 2016

By on 11:27 AM

Joint Commission reports that in 2016, an infection control standard was the most challenging for ambulatory health care organizations accredited by the organization.

This is according to The Joint Commission's annual summary of the Top 10 Challenging Standards for its ambulatory care program.

The infection control standard is IC.02.02.01 (The organization reduces the risk of infections associated with medical equipment, devices, and supplies.). Fifty-three percent of organizations received Requirements for Improvement for the standard, based on Joint Commission accreditation surveys and certification reviews from January 1, 2016, through December 31, 2016.

This standard, in particular, has gained increased attention in both the ambulatory and inpatient setting over the course of the past few years. During this time, medical device reprocessing  was identified as an issue after failures in reprocessing duodenoscopes resulted in fatal infections. The elements of performance for IC.02.02.01 include "cleaning and performing low-level disinfection of medical equipment, devices and supplies (such as stethoscopes and blood glucose meters)." They also include "performing intermediate and high-level disinfection and sterilization of medical equipment, devices and supplies (for semi-critical and critical items)." Disposing and storage of equipment, devices and supplies as well as single-use device reprocessing is also addressed. 

The Joint Commission holds ambulatory care settings to the same standards as inpatient/acute care settings as it relates to standard IC.02.02.01. Facilities that are accredited can expect surveyors to closely scrutinize related practices.

Joining the infection control standard in the top three were human resources standard HR.02.01.03 (The organization grants initial, renewed, or revised clinical privileges to individuals who are permitted by law and the organization to practice independently.) and environment of care standard EC.02.03.05 (The organization maintains fire safety equipment and fire safety building features).

For assistance with Joint Commission survey preparation, contact the infection control experts at Infection Control Consulting Services by clicking here.

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC, is the founder and president of Infection Control Consulting Services LLC (ICCS). Phenelle has more than 30 years' experience providing customized comprehensive infection control and prevention services to healthcare facilities nationwide. Her services focus on assisting hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, dental office and oral surgery practices, doctor's offices, nursing homes and other organizations with implementing and maintaining an infection control program that: complies with The Joint Commission, AAAHC, Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) and other regulatory agencies; respond to situations of noncompliance; and improve the processes for reducing risk.