New changes to The Joint Commission (TJC) Emergency Management (EM) standards became effective on July 1, 2022. Most hospitals should have in place a crossover worksheet to compare the new and existing standards.

TJC cleaned up some of the old elements of performance standards, merging them with new standards that resulted in a decrease from 124 standards to 60 standards. There also were changes in environment of care and leadership that involve emergency management.

The 60 new standards reflect a good reorganizing of like topics to make a more cohesive set of standards. Some of the major changes occur within EM.10.01.01 — a good reminder that the emergency management committee must use a multidisciplinary approach.

Written plans are needed for all utilities that affect your facility, including steam, water, fiber, power and fuel. A written new continuity of operations plan (COOP) must tie back into the emergency operations plan (EOP). The COOP identifies how hospitals will continue to operate with limited or reduced essential services.

Some facilities may need to reach out to a third-party vendor to help write the plan. Although language about disaster recovery and continuity of operations existed in previous plans, TJC now requires a separate COOP.

On another note, language within a facility’s EOP should include staff mental health and wellness. This is an essential need due to the nature of staff burnout and stress levels experienced within health care facilities post-pandemic.

Many facilities may fail to include hospital leadership on plan reviews, evaluations of the after-action plans and various levels of emergency management training. Facilities managers should be sure to include the leadership team, command center team and nursing coordinators as well as second-shift and third-shift leaders.

There are many ways to deliver training, including videos of the presentation captured by electronic signature, in-person training, or a combination of in-person and virtual training.