The Joint Commission Elevates Health Equity to National Patient Safety Goal

By A.J. Plunkett

The Joint Commission (TJC) —which last year issued new hospital Leadership standards to encourage health equity, effective January 1, 2023—has now elevated health equity to a National Patient Safety Goal (NPSG).

There are no new requirements for NPSG.16.10.01, which echo the Leadership standards except to identify all six elements of performance (EPs) as risk areas.

Once the new NPSG is in effect, the Leadership standard, LD.04.03.08, will be deleted, according to a TJC statement.

“Everyone needs a chance for safe, equitable and meaningful care. As such, equity must be the foundation for safety and quality in health care,” said Jonathan B. Perlin, MD, PhD, MSHA, MACP, FACMI, president and chief executive officer, according to the statement. “By elevating the existing standard to a National Patient Safety Goal, we are emphasizing the importance for health care organizations to ensure oversight and accountability for health care equity.”

TJC also has an R3 report, issue No. 38, “National Patient Safety Goal to Improve Health Care Equity.

Hospitals can find the NPSG standard on TJC’s prepublication page online until the standard is effective July 1, at which time they will be available through the mid-year manual update.

Congress, CMS, TJC and other organizations have been pushing for better health equity among patient populations for more than a year, including better maternal healthcare, especially in light of the growing concern that black mothers are at a much higher risk of maternal mortality.