The Joint Commission is eliminating 168 standards (14%) and revising 14 other standards across its accreditation programs to streamline requirements and make them as efficient and impactful on patient safety, quality, and equity as possible. Additionally, The Joint Commission is not raising its accreditation fees for domestic hospitals in 2023 in recognition of the many financial challenges hospitals and health systems continue to face.

The first tranche of standards deletions and revisions by program will be effective Jan. 1, 2023. They include:

  • Hospital: 56 deleted and 4 revised
  • Critical Access Hospital: 37 deleted and 4 revised
  • Ambulatory Health Care: 20 deleted and 1 revised
  • Behavioral Health Care and Human Services: 9 deleted and 1 revised
  • Home Care: 10 deleted and 1 revised
  • Laboratory Services: 6 deleted and 1 revised
  • Nursing Care Center: 12 deleted and 1 revised
  • Office-Based Surgery: 18 deleted and 1 revised

The standards reduction is the result of The Joint Commission’s comprehensive review that was announced in September 2022. The Joint Commission reviewed all its “above-and-beyond” requirements – those that go beyond regulatory requirements of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Conditions of Participation (CoPs) and are not on crosswalks to the CoPs. Specifically, The Joint Commission reviewed each standard to answer:

  • Does the requirement still address an important quality and safety issue?
  • Is the requirement redundant?
  • Are the time and resources needed to comply with the requirement commensurate with the estimated benefit to patient care and health outcomes?

In addition to a direct review of each standard, The Joint Commission conducted quantitative analyses of scoring patterns and tested for redundancy. Where necessary, it also led literature and field reviews and engaged experts within the field. 

CMS approved the recommended discontinued standards after confirming they do not diminish any CMS regulatory requirements. Importantly, a second tranche of standards is under consideration for elimination or revision, and a second announcement of burden reduction is anticipated in approximately six months.

“The standards reduction will help streamline Joint Commission requirements, as well as provide some much-needed relief to healthcare professionals and organizations as they continue to recover from the pandemic,” says Jonathan B. Perlin, MD, PhD, MSHA, MACP, FACMI, president and chief executive officer, The Joint Commission. “Our goal is to eliminate any standard that no longer adds value. We want to have fewer, more meaningful requirements that best support safer, higher-quality and more equitable health outcomes.”

To further provide relief to hospitals and health systems, The Joint Commission will not raise domestic hospital accreditation fees in 2023. As a result, some accreditation surveys will be conducted for less than cost.

“As with so many other organizations, we are experiencing inflation in several areas of our business, notably travel costs for surveys; however, we are steadfast in our decision not to raise domestic hospital accreditation fees,” Perlin adds. “We believe this is the right thing to do and look forward to further supporting our accredited healthcare organizations in 2023.”

See the full list of standards to be discontinued.