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Sentinel Events to include provider, vendor deaths: TJC

by Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed News Associate Editor | December 26, 2012
For the first time in 16 years, The Joint Commission will expand its Sentinel Event system for hospital injuries, deaths and crimes to cover most health care providers and vendors as well as patients.

If a patient or resident is disabled or killed from a fall, medication mix-up, or certain other adverse events, or is the victim of a serious crime, TJC's Sentinel Event system requires hospitals or clinics to run an analysis and create an action plan to prevent the event from happening again.

The organization said starting July 1, the rape, murder or life-threatening assault of a staff member, doctor, vendor or guest will also trigger a Sentinel Event.
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"An incident that occurs on the premises of a health care organization presents security and safety concerns for everyone, including patients, residents, or individuals served," TJC said in a notice on its website, dated Dec. 19. "Broadening the list of reviewable sentinel events promotes improved security and safety throughout the overall environment."

Under the Sentinel Event program, which launched in 1996, organizations voluntarily report the events to TJC. However, if TJC becomes aware of the event, possibly through a patient or the media, it then requires the provider group to submit their response plan for review within 45 days of the event.

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