Joint Commission makes health equity a national safety goal

While current requirements for accredited hospitals will not change, The Joint Commission is upgrading one leadership standard to a national patient safety goal. The move emphasizes the importance of health equity and encourages hospitals to view healthcare disparities as a quality and safety priority.

The change will take effect on July 1, according to a Jan. 10 news release from The Joint Commission. 

"Everyone needs a chance for safe, equitable and meaningful care. As such, equity must be the foundation for safety and quality in healthcare," The Joint Commission president and CEO Jonathan Perlin, MD, PhD, said in a release. "By elevating the existing standard to a National Patient Safety Goal, we are emphasizing the importance for healthcare organizations to ensure oversight and accountability for healthcare equity."

The intent behind Leadership Standard LD.04.03.08 and related performance metrics will remain the same; however, it will now be included as NPSG Goal 16. 

Under NPSG 16, accredited hospitals will still be required to focus on social disparities by identifying patients' needs and disparities and developing a strategic plan to improve health equity in their organizations.

"The new National Patient Safety Goal will help increase the focus on improving healthcare equity, a global patient safety priority," Dr. Perlin said. 

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