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Joint Commission Behavioral Health Update

February 2013     
         Newsletter        
In This Issue
New Client Welcome!
Visit Us at the National Council for Behavioral Health Conference
Credentialing and Assigning Clinical Responsibilities under the Behavioral Health Standards
QPRT: A Resource for Suicide Risk Assessment
Barrins & Associates
Barrins & Associates
Greetings to Our Colleagues in Anne Barrins
Behavioral Healthcare! 
 

This month, we are focusing on two topics that have presented some challenges for behavioral health organizations on Joint Commission surveys.

 

Our first article deals with common survey pitfalls related to credentialing and assigning clinical responsibilities for licensed independent practitioners under the Behavioral Health standards. Our second article highlights a suicide risk assessment tool that several of our clients have found quite useful.

 

Looking forward a couple of months, we hope to see many of you at the National Council for Behavioral Health Conference in Las Vegas on April 8th through 10th. We will be exhibiting in the Expo Hall, greeting current clients, and networking with new colleagues. Come visit our booth and be eligible for the special drawing!

 

We value your feedback on the newsletter. Please email us your comments and tell us what topics you would like to see in future issues.  We look forward to hearing from you!  Also, feel free to forward this newsletter to your colleagues. 

 

Regards,

Anne Barrins
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 New Client Welcome!         

 

Barrins & Associates welcomes two new clients this month:

 

Oliver-Pyatt Centers is located in South Miami, Florida and provides comprehensive treatment for women with eating disorders. The program offers a full continuum of residential treatment, PHP, IOP, transitional living and outpatient services and is accredited by The Joint Commission.  

 

Remi Vista Youth and Family Services is based in Redding, California and provides foster care, residential services, mental health services, wraparound programs, and crisis support services throughout northern California. Remi Vista is working toward initial Joint Commission accreditation. 

 

We are pleased to be working with both of these organizations on Joint Commission readiness!

Visit Us at the National Council for Behavioral Health Conference

   

Barrins & Associates is excited to be a part of the National Council for Behavioral Health Conference in Las Vegas on April 8- 10, 2013. We will be exhibiting in the Expo Hall (Booth # 700) and invite you to come visit us there! We would be pleased to talk with you about our services, our approach to Joint Commission consulting and learn about your organization and your programs. If you plan to attend the conference, please email me so that we can arrange a time to meet. We look forward to seeing many of you out there in sunny Las Vegas!

    

P.S: Make sure to drop your business card in our fishbowl and be eligible for the special prize drawing!

         Credentialing and Assigning Clinical Responsibilities under the Behavioral Health Standards 

 

 

Credentialing and assigning clinical responsibilities to LIPS was one of the top five compliance issues for BH organizations in 2012. In fact, it ranked number two (second only to treatment planning) with 20% of BH organizations receiving findings in this area.

 

For organizations surveyed under the BH standards, the requirements for credentialing and assigning clinical responsibilities to licensed independent practitioners (LIPs) are in the Human Resources chapter in standard HR.02.01.03. (Note that the BH standards do not use the term "privileging" as is used in the Hospital manual but rather "assigning clinical responsibilities").

 

Keep in mind that HR.02.01.03 applies only to that designated group of practitioners that your organization has identified as licensed independent practitioners (LIPs) to whom you will grant clinical responsibilities. TJC defines a LIP as "a practitioner permitted by law and the organization to provide care, treatment, or services without direction or supervision within the scope of the practitioner's license and consistent with assigned clinical responsibilities".

 

There are different requirements to meet when initially assigning clinical responsibilities versus renewing clinical responsibilities for LIPs:

 

Requirements for Initial Assignment of Clinical Responsibilities

 

  • Primary source verification of licensure, certification, or registration (EP 1)
  • Valid picture ID issued by state or federal agency (EP 2)
  • Primary source documentation of training (EP 3)
  • Written statement from LIP that no health problems exist that would affect ability to perform clinical responsibilities (EP 10)
  • Review of the following information:
    • Challenges to licensure or registration (EP 11)
    • Relinquishment of licensure or registration (EP 12)
    • Limitation, reduction, or loss of clinical responsibilities (EP 14)
    • Liability actions resulting in a final judgment against the LIP (EP 15)
  • Query to National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) for physicians, dentists (EP 16)
  • Peer recommendation(s) as required by the organization (EP 36)
  • Approval of the clinical responsibilities in writing by the governing body (EP 23)

 

Requirements for Renewal of Clinical Responsibilities (every two years)

 

                At the time of renewal of clinical responsibilities, many of the same requirements apply as did for initial assignment of clinical responsibilities:

  • Primary source verification of renewal of licensure/certification/registration
  • Written statement from LIP that no health problems exist that would affect ability to perform clinical responsibilities
  • Review of the following information:
    • Challenges to licensure or registration
    • Relinquishment of licensure or registration 
    • Limitation, reduction, or loss of clinical responsibilities
    • Liability actions resulting in a final judgment against the LIP
  • Query to NPDB for physicians, dentists 
  • Approval of the clinical responsibilities in writing by the governing body

 

In addition, the following requirements must be met when renewing clinical responsibilities:

         The organization must review information from the following sources:

o        Performance improvement activities pertaining to the LIP's performance, judgment, clinical or technical skills (EP 7)

o        Results of peer review (EP 8)

o        Any clinical performance that was outside of acceptable standards (EP 9)

 

So, where do BH organizations run into problems with these requirements?

 

 

At the recent TJC Behavioral Healthcare Conference, Merlin Wessels Associate Director of the Standards Interpretation Group presented the most common survey findings:

 

 

Problem # 1: License not verified from the primary source.

Common issues:

         Allowing a copy of the license to be used instead of obtaining primary source verification

         Having a lapse in verifying renewal of the license

Strategy: Make sure you have a solid "tickler system" in place for verifying license renewal from the primary source before the expiration date.

 

Problem # 2: Lack of peer review

Common issues:

  • No peer review process yet established by the organization
  • The LIP is the only practitioner of that type within the organization

Strategy: If you have a "one of a kind" LIP, you can use a peer recommendation or peer review from a peer external to your organization.  

 

Problem # 3: Written health statement not done

Strategy: This one is an easy fix. Build the statement into the application paperwork: "I attest that I have no mental or physical health problems that could affect my ability to perform the clinical responsibilities I have requested".

 

Problem # 4: No Query to the National Practitioner Data Bank

 

Common issue: Many BH organizations don't realize that the NPDB must be queried every two years. They think that this query just needs to be done initially. Not true. It must be done both initially and at time of renewal of clinical responsibilities.

Strategy: Once you have done an initial baseline query to the NPDB for a LIP, you can then take advantage of their Proactive Disclosure Service (PDS) when renewing clinical responsibilities. This essentially means that you don't have to keep checking with NPDB. Rather, they notify you of any new information they receive on that LIP. No updates from NPDB means no new information. TJC has clarified that there does not need to be documentation in the record that no further communication has been received from NPDB.

 

Problem # 5: Governing body didn't approve clinical responsibilities in writing

 

Common issue: Many BH organizations simply overlook this requirement to have the governing body do the final approval of clinical responsibilities.

Strategy: Approval by the governing body can be via a letter or by signature of a governing body representative on the approval form. In addition, governing body approval can be delegated to a committee or an individual (e.g. CEO) within the organization.

 

Continuous Readiness Strategy: Take the time now to tie up the loose ends in your process for assigning clinical responsibilities to LIPs. It's worth the effort to have all the right steps in place and avoid these common survey pitfalls on your next survey! 

 

 

 

 QPRT: A Resource for Suicide Risk Assessment

  

Many behavioral health organizations and programs struggle to find the best process for conducting suicide risk assessment. Failure to comply with the Joint Commission's National Patient Safety Goal on suicide risk assessment (NPSG.15.01.01) was one of the "Top Ten" survey findings in 2012. A common surveyor finding is that the suicide risk assessment did not identify specific characteristics of the client and environmental features that would increase or decrease the risk for suicide. Another common issue is that the assessment included risk factors but did not address protective factors that might decrease the risk for suicide.

 

Several of our clients are now using the QPRT and have been very satisfied with this tool. The QPRT Suicide Risk Management Inventory is a suicide risk assessment tool designed to identify current suicide risk. (QPRT stands for Question, Persuade, Refer or Treat). It is a relatively brief tool that can be used by clinicians as part of the assessment process. Organizations using it have found it to be user friendly for clinicians and well accepted by clients. The tool includes some direct interview questions as well as checklists of both potential suicide risk factors and potential protective factors. Based on this information, it prompts a rating of the level of suicide risk. It also includes a section on "next steps": interventions, precautions, and a safety plan/agreement which is signed by the clinician and the client.

 

Another benefit of the QPRT is that there are versions of the tool designed for inpatient, residential, and outpatient settings so it can be used across the continuum of care within an organization. If you are interested in learning more about the QPRT, check out QPR Institute's article Developmental History of the QPRT Suicide Risk Management Inventory.  

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Barrins & Associates provides Joint Commission and CMS consulting services for the Behavioral Healthcare industry. Our clients include both psychiatric hospitals and freestanding Behavioral Healthcare organizations. We specialize in providing Survey Preparation and Continuous Survey Readiness services exclusively for the Behavioral Healthcare industry.  Barrins & Associates was founded by Anne Barrins who was a Joint Commission surveyor for 13 years.