Flu Shots Still Required but TJC Eliminates 90% Goal

By A.J. Plunkett

As of January 1, 2021, you will have one less thing to worry about: The Joint Commission (TJC) is eliminating its requirement that hospitals set a goal toward achieving a 90% vaccination rate under Infection Prevention and Control standard IC.02.04.01.

That standard requires hospitals to offer a flu vaccination to its licensed independent practitioners and staff.

Under Element of Performance 5, hospitals were told to set “incremental influenza vaccination goals, consistent with achieving the 90% rate established in the national influenza initiatives for 2020.”

Those initiatives, outlined in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Action Plan to Prevent Healthcare-Associated Infections, set the goal of a 90% vaccination rate among healthcare personnel. But in the August publication of the HHS “Healthy People 2030” goals, that 90% rate was removed, according to TJC’s announcement.

Be aware that while the goal has been deleted, the rest of the standard remains in effect.

And IC experts and emergency planners have encouraged hospitals to step up flu vaccinations along with the general public as the nation continues to battle the rising cases of COVID-19 from the 2019 coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier this month, HHS extended through January 21 the national emergency declared in March because of the pandemic.

“Organizations should continue to strive to increase compliance with influenza vaccinations and take action to improve vaccination rates,” according to TJC’s announcement. “Moving forward, The Joint Commission will not score noncompliance if the organization has not reach 90%, but instead will review that organizations have a goal to improve influenza vaccination rates and have leadership support and processes in place to support achievement of these goals.”

A.J. Plunkett is editor of Inside Accreditation & Quality, a Simplify Compliance publication.