The Joint Commission Revises Terminology


The Joint Commission Revises Terminology

Effective August 27, 2023, The Joint Commission will eliminate the term “licensed independent practitioner” for its ambulatory healthcare and office-based surgery programs. The revisions are consistent with current terminology used by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Conditions for Coverage (CfCs). The updated terminology better reflects the full scope of practice of licensed practitioners allowed by their license and permitted by state and federal law and regulation while keeping the intent of the requirement, according to a release.

The revisions streamline terminology and simplify elements of performance (EP) by eliminating the detailed lists of individuals to whom the EPs apply. This primarily relates to the use of staff in the “Environment of Care,” “Emergency Management,” “Infection Prevention and Control,” “Life Safety” (ASCs only) and “Waived Testing” chapters, according to the release. The term “staff” encompasses physicians, other licensed practitioners, students, volunteers, contract staff and other staff when the EP does not address roles and responsibilities related to care, treatment or services unless the CfCs require further specification.

Because of these revisions, The Joint Commission also has added, updated and deleted the following glossary terms.

  • Staff (revised)
  • Clinical staff (revised)
  • Practitioner (replaced with the term licensed practitioner)
  • Licensed independent practitioner (deleted)
  • Provider (new)

In addition, The Joint Commission made minor editorial changes to other glossary definitions where these terms are used, according to the release.

As part of its standards reduction initiative, The Joint Commission reviewed the requirements for office-based surgery and ambulatory healthcare that go above and beyond CMS’ CfCs and evaluated if any of those requirements could be deleted. The prepublication standards containing the revisions to eliminate “licensed independent practitioner” are listed below.

Prepublication Standards: