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The Joint Commission has changed its process for complaint reporting. Effective September 1, a Joint Commission employee will no longer answer the complaint line at TJC’s Office of Quality and Patient Safety. Instead, there will be an automated message.

Over the years, calls to the Office of Quality and Patient Safety have increased even though complaints had to ultimately be submitted in writing. The new automated message will provide instructions on how to submit a complaint via the Joint Commission website, mail, or fax.

Impact on Accredited Organizations

As a result, to stay compliant with the Accreditation Participation Requirement for notifying the public about Joint Commission complaint reporting (APR.09.01.01), you must change the notice you’re now using for this purpose. You should amend it to advise the public how they can report a complaint. These include the following:

  • At The Joint Commission website, using the “Report a Patient Safety Event” link in the “Action Center” on the home page of the website
  • By fax to 630-792-5636
  • By mail to:
    Office of Quality and Patient Safety
    The Joint Commission
    One Renaissance Boulevard
    Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181

Where to Post the Public Notice

Organizations post their public notice about Joint Commission complaint reporting in various locations. These include their website, waiting rooms, patient units, and patient handbooks. All postings will need to be revised to reflect this new information. The best place to start is with your website and then your postings and handbooks.

How Does TJC Handle Complaints?

The Office of Quality and Patient Safety reviews the complaint. They also check to see if there have been other complaints about your organization. In addition, they may contact you via email to share the complaint. Furthermore, they may ask  for a written response about how you handled the complaint. In some cases, TJC conducts an on-site survey. The focus of the survey is to determine how you resolved the complaint and how you comply with standards related to the complaint.

For on-site surveys, TJC issues a written report like your triennial survey report. Be aware that TJC does not share the name of the individual submitting the complaint unless that individual has granted permission.

No Retaliatory Action

Keep in mind, there is another related Accreditation Participation Requirement (APR.09.02.01). It prohibits retaliatory action toward someone who reports a complaint to TJC. Thus, you must educate staff that they can report complaints to TJC. You must also inform staff that your will take no disciplinary or punitive action toward someone who reports a complaint in Joint Commission reporting.

Joint Commission Complaint Reporting Action Items for Your Organization

  • Revise your public notice to contain the correct complaint reporting information for TJC.
  • Make sure you educate staff about their right to report complaints to TJC.