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What’s the latest on Joint Commission survey activity? As we know, The Joint Commission resumed onsite survey activity in June. Their approach has been to conduct onsite surveys in counties that are low risk for COVID-19.

At the same time, they began conducting a limited number of virtual surveys.

So, what’s the current Joint Commission survey status?

Clearly, the rise in COVID cases nationwide has made onsite surveys an increasing challenge. As a result, where do things stand now with onsite and virtual Joint Commission surveys? Let’s take a look at the numbers.

Joint Commission Survey Status

The chart below summarizes the number of scheduled surveys for the period from May – December 2020.

Joint Commission Survey Status 2020 Scheduled Surveys

As shown, the number of scheduled onsite surveys peaked in October with a total of 597.  With the rise in COVID-19 cases, that slowed to 452 scheduled surveys in November. Similarly, the number of onsite surveys scheduled for December dropped significantly to 169.

In comparison, the number of virtual surveys has steadily increased. TJC scheduled 35 virtual surveys in June. That number steadily rose to 212 in November.

At this time, TJC is still in the process of finalizing the December survey schedule. Thus, the number of virtual surveys for that month are expected to increase significantly from the currently scheduled number of 87 surveys.

CMS Approval of Virtual Surveys

Initially, CMS approved TJC to utilize virtual surveys only for those hospitals applying for initial deemed status. Recently, CMS approved virtual surveys for hospital resurveys. TJC and CMS are working out the details on these virtual resurveys.

As a result, this opens the window for a much larger pool of hospitals to undergo the virtual survey process. TJC is still conducting outreach calls to organizations before scheduling them for virtual surveys.  However, be aware that TJC does not do an outreach call when conducting an unannounced complaint survey by the Office of Quality and Patient Safety.

CMS also approved virtual surveys for Accreditation with Follow-up Surveys and Medicare Deficiency Surveys. TJC will be scheduling these surveys which resulted from full surveys conducted prior to the Public Health Emergency Declaration in March which has subsequently been renewed.

Virtual Surveys for Behavioral Health Organizations

In addition to hospitals, TJC has also been conducting virtual surveys for organizations accredited under the Behavioral Health standards. We’ve had some clients who’ve experienced these virtual surveys including both residential and outpatient programs. Their report is that the virtual survey process has been both thorough and manageable.

TJC conducts follow-up evaluations for all virtual surveys. Overall, the feedback has been positive with just some concerns about managing the technology component of the virtual survey.

Barrins & Associates Consultation

We’re now conducting our Mock Surveys and Continuous Readiness Consultations both virtually and onsite.

As always, we’re prepared to support your ongoing compliance and survey readiness even in these challenging times. We’ll also keep you updated on Joint Commission survey status over the coming months.