Joint Commission Delays Implementation

Joint Commission Delays Implementation of Imaging Standards Until 2015

May 15, 2014

The Joint Commission announced on May 15 that it has postponed the implementation of revised diagnostic imaging requirements for hospitals, critical access hospitals and ambulatory care organizations that provide diagnostic imaging services.

Portions of the new standards were originally scheduled to take effect July 1, 2014, with additional changes phased in by 2015.

“Now, the goal is to implement revised standards by July 2015,” the Joint Commission announced. “When the 2015 requirements are published, it is expected that the majority of the 2014 proposed requirements will be implemented as currently written.”

Those requirements include registration and certification of technologists who perform computed tomography and magnetic resonance exams; ongoing education in radiation dose-reduction techniques for CT technologists; and ongoing education in MR safety for MR technologists.

The Joint Commission originally announced the new standards in January 2014. The postponement comes following “significant feedback from key stakeholders raising concerns about several critical standards and requirements that require further research to ensure that the new standards best promote the improvement of quality and safety,” according to the Joint Commission.

The accreditation body said that it plans to collect additional information about several critical areas of radiation safety, including:

  • Documentation of radiation dose
  • Annual equipment performance evaluations by a medical physicist or magnetic resonance scientist
  • Minimum qualifications for radiologic technologists who perform computed tomography exams
  • Requirements that align with California’s law for organizations performing CT scans

The Joint Commission plans to post a prepublication version of the final requirements on its website six months before the planned 2015 implementation date. Radiologic technologists who have questions or wish to provide input should write to imagesafety@jointcommission.org