The Joint Commission Health Care Equity Standard

Health Care Equity

The Joint Commission is a non-profit agency that certifies healthcare programs, including behavioral healthcare centers. Being Joint Commission accredited is essential to the success of any healthcare organization. Receiving Joint Commission accreditation ensures the public that your behavioral healthcare center is held to high industry standards for patient safety. Now, the Joint Commission has introduced its Health Care Equity Standards, with the vision that all people experience safe, high-quality health care.

What is Health Equity?

Health equity is a global public health concept that originates with the World Health Organization. Member states then create their own health equity standards, such as those created by the American Medical Association (AMA). The AMA then provides policies, education, and advocacy measures that advance health equity and racial justice in the USA.

The purpose of health equity is to ensure that all individuals have equal access to quality health care services. Regardless of race and ethnicity, income level, access to quality education, or lack of housing, all have medical care. To achieve equity, resources are allocated that help people with certain disadvantages receive equal care.

What are Disparities in Health Care?

The Joint Commission has identified several areas where there continue to be barriers to high-quality health care. Dr. Jonathan B. Perlin, M.D., PhD., President and CEO of The Joint Commission states, “Every patient deserves the right to safe, equitable health care. All health care organizations have a responsibility to identify and address the disparities that their unique patient populations face.”

Some of the statistics explain why the new health care equity standards are needed:

  • Maternal mortality among black mothers is four times higher than among non-Hispanic white women.
  • Diabetes rates are 30% higher among Native Americans and Latinos than whites.
  • Hispanic women are 20% more likely to die from cervical cancer than non-Hispanic white women.
  • Asian Americans are eight times more likely to die from hepatitis B than non-Hispanic whites.

Health Care Equity Certification Program

The Joint Commission has launched a new health care equity certification program. The goal is to help heath care providers remove some of the disparities and barriers that exist among certain patient populations. This advanced certification is a voluntary program for providers seeking to deliver more equitable health care services.

The new standards provide health care organizations with a roadmap to review their company policies and begin the process of making needed changes. By completing the certification program, your organization will stand out from others that have not pursued the updated standards.

The Joint Commission Standards

The new health care equity standards are just the latest addition to The Joint Commission standards for healthcare and behavioral healthcare providers. The Joint Commission established its standards and accreditation process back in 1950, and now accredits more than 22,000 U.S. health care organizations.

The purpose of establishing the standards and accreditation process was to help providers be better able to measure, assess, and improve their performance. The standards set expectations for the organization to adopt and put into action, with the main focus on patient safely.

During the accreditation process, the health care entity will pass through various steps, from filing the application to an on-site audit. Once the health care center receives accreditation, it will need to regularly update compliance as new standards are introduced.

Benefits of Joint Commission Accreditation

When a health care provider decides to raise the bar and undergo the Joint Commission review process, they already understand how accreditation will benefit them. Here are some of the benefits of receiving The Joint Commission accreditation:

  1. Quality of Care. Consumers who seek health care options want to be assured that the treatment center is well managed and safe. With the standards in effect, the health care center is seen to be high quality and prioritizes patient care. When a patient believes they have received quality treatment within a safe environment, they are more satisfied. 
  2. Reduced Litigation. Many insurers now require that the health care center be accredited, as this may reduce liability claims. Leadership is tasked with managing ongoing adherence to the standards, which will results in fewer risks and litigation costs.
  3. Quality Assurance. Accredited healthcare centers happen to prioritize excellence. These treatment centers have set up the needed systems to put the standard into action and operate at the highest level.
  4. Staff Education. The Joint Commission provides continuing input and support, which helps the staff members to remain informed of any updates. With ongoing education, the center is able to improve safety conditions and quality of care.
  5. Accountability. Once a organization is accredited, they will be held to a certain level of accountability. By adhering to the standards and the conditions of certification, they build confidence and trust with patients. Also, there are protocols in place to address the need to improve any problems with adherence that may arise in the future.

If your behavioral health care center wishes to achieve the highest level of public respect, then you should pursue Joint Commission accreditation.

Circa Helps Behavioral Healthcare Organizations Meet the Health Care Equity Standards

Once your business has been accredited, you may find yourself a bit overwhelmed trying to keep up with the standards updates and compliance requirements. Now, with the addition of The Joint Commission Health Care Equity Standards, it may be a good time to consider the services of a behavioral healthcare consultant.

Circa Behavioral Healthcare Solutions is a full service consultancy that specializes in assisting behavioral and mental health entities. Our expert consultants can relieve much of the burden associated with trying to keep up with compliance. This frees up time to continue to improve organizational health, quality of patient care, and health equity. Call us today at (888) 458-6619