Joint Commission faces more pressure to require safe staffing for accreditation

Hospital workers and allies in Illinois and Indiana are urging The Joint Commission to add staffing standards to its accreditation and licensing process for healthcare facilities.

The campaign is being led by Service Employees International Union Healthcare Illinois, which represents 90,000 hospital, nursing home, home care and child care workers in the Midwest. The workers driving the campaign include nurses, environmental services workers, technicians and nursing assistants.

petition delivered to The Joint Commission June 7 asks the organization to examine hospitals on their overall staffing as part of their accreditation and licensing process.

"The Joint Commission should be accessing hospitals on their overall staffing as part of their accreditation, and hospitals need to be reporting on their overall staffing throughout their buildings," the petition states.

The workers' campaign also included a June 7 rally at The Joint Commission's headquarters in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill. In March, nurses working with an advocacy group called Impact in Healthcare also urged The Joint Commission to require safe staffing levels for accreditation.

Jonathan Perlin, MD, PhD, president and CEO of The Joint Commission, said the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for more trained healthcare workers to meet patient demand and to reduce turnover.  

"Staffing is a critical and complex issue that The Joint Commission takes very seriously," he said in a statement shared with Becker's. "There is not a one-size-fits-all or immediate solution, especially in the context of ensuring access to patients in need with an ongoing workforce shortage. We look forward to working with other organizations and authorities on this challenging issue to create sustainable improvements for both healthcare workers and the patients we serve."

Read more about the campaign here.

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