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The Joint Commission has announced that effective March 16, 2020 they are suspending all “regular surveying.” TJC implemented this survey suspension in light of the declaration of a National Emergency regarding the COVID-19 virus.

TJC wants to allow healthcare organizations to focus on their response to the pandemic and treat their patients. COO Mark Pelletier said the move is to ensure that “we are not interfering with the work you are doing to prepare and care for your patients during this pandemic.”

TJC stated that there may be a small number of surveys that proceed in “high risk situations.” They will provide more detail soon on those types of surveys.

We’ve already had questions from clients about TJC’s move. So, let’s address those.

TJC Surveys: When will they resume?

Many organizations are asking when The Joint Commission will resume their regular cycle of surveys. At the present time, TJC does not have an anticipated restart date. They did indicate that all postponed surveys will take place once TJC resumes its surveying activities.

What happens if our Joint Commission accreditation expires?

Understandably, there’s the question of what happens if an organization goes beyond the official date on which their accreditation expires. In this instance, The Joint Commission will extend the organization’s accreditation without any disruption to their accreditation status.

Is CMS in sync with TJC on this move?

Yes, CMS is supporting TJC on this move to suspend regular surveys. CMS will continue Medicare payment to deemed status hospitals when TJC extends accreditation to the organizations due to this National Emergency.

Also, CMS recently posted a memo regarding its own suspension of certain types of survey activities. See QSO 20-12 regarding Suspension of Survey Activities.

Updates on TJC Survey Activity

For the full text of TJC’s communication to the field, see the official notification on the TJC website.

As this scenario unfolds, we’ll continue to keep you updated on TJC’s plans for resuming survey activity and how that will unfold. Meanwhile, this reprieve allows healthcare organizations to focus on their top priority right now: halting the spread of COVID-19 and treating their patients.