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New healthcare certification program is set to launch July 1

In an effort to improve public healthcare, The Joint Commission will introduce a new series of certification measuring the equity within hospitals.

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On June 27, The Joint Commission announced the launch of a new voluntary Health Care Equity Certification Program, effective July 1.

The new certification will recognize hospitals that strive for excellence as they seek to provide equitable care, treatment, and services.

Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission is an independent nonprofit that works to set standards and act as an accrediting body within the healthcare industry to improve the quality of care for the public.

Currently, The Joint Commission certifies and accredits more than 22,000 healthcare organizations and programs located in the United States.

The new Health Care Equity Certification builds atop The Joint Commission's prior accreditation requirements for health care equity, such as the new ones it put into place on January 1 to reduce health care disparities, which will be elevated to National Patient Safety Goal (NPSG) 16 on July 1.

The new certification requirements focus on a healthcare organization's structures and processes needed to decrease healthcare disparities; promote diversity, equity, and inclusion; and support their leadership, collaboration, data collection, performance improvement, and provision of care capabilities.

“Health care equity is not only an issue of social justice, it is a fundamental issue of patient safety and quality of care,” said Jonathan B. Perlin, MD, President, and Chief Executive Officer of The Joint Commission Enterprise, in a statement.

“This is why I made it a top priority for The Joint Commission to advance health care equity. COVID-19 sharpened health care’s focus on fractures in care that are unacceptable. All people deserve access to safe, high-quality care,” he continued.

For these healthcare organizations to meet the certification's requirements and elements of performance, The Joint Commission has created the Health Care Equity Certification Resource Center for their benefit. 

This center will provide resources to them, including brief synopses, practical strategies, templates, toolkits, and videos.

“The Health Care Equity Certification Program will distinguish those organizations making health care equity a strategic priority and are collaborating with patients, families, caregivers and external organizations to identify and address needs that help translate equitable health care into better health outcomes,” Perlin concluded.

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