Nurses to Joint Commission: Require safe staffing levels for accreditation

Nurses across the country are calling on The Joint Commission to require "safe staffing ratios" as a condition of accreditation for healthcare facilities, the Chicago Tribune reported March 15.

The nurses, working with an advocacy group called Impact in Healthcare, are also urging the accrediting body to create a clinician-led taskforce to determine appropriate staffing levels for various healthcare settings, annually report hospitals' compliance with staffing ratios and conduct peer-reviewed research on the topic. 

A petition on change.org outlining these asks had more than 544,000 signatures as of March 17, representing the largest healthcare petition on the website this year, according to Michael Jones, a managing director at the company. The nurses' campaign has also included a March 15 rally at The Joint Commission's headquarters in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., local TV commercials and a mobile billboard traveling to hospitals in the Chicago area.

Jonathan Perlin, MD, PhD, president and CEO of The Joint Commission, said the pandemic has underscored the importance of increasing the healthcare workforce and prioritizing workers' health and well-being. 

"Staffing is a complex issue that is larger than, and cannot be resolved by, The Joint Commission alone," he said in a statement to Becker's. "We look forward to working with other authorities on this issue. The context of Tuesday's events is not one that is conducive to the meaningful dialogue required. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all or immediate solution. Addressing the root causes of the staffing shortage is the only way to create long-term and sustainable improvement."

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