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New standards expected by March
In the coming months, the new restraint regulations from the Health Care Financing Adminis tra tion (HCFA) will not be the only changes you’ll have to contend with. The Joint Commission on Accredi tation of Healthcare Organizations’ restraint standards also will change within the next year, says Margaret Van Amringe, vice president of Joint Commission external affairs.
In December 1998, the Joint Commission created a Restraints Use Task Force to explore the use of restraint, seclusion, and therapeutic holding. A major focus is the amount of time allowed to pass before a physician evaluates a restrained patient.
"This is one of the areas we decided to field-test. We will require something more stringent than the current standards, which allow 12 hours to go by," says Van Amringe.
The new Joint Commission standards will be field-tested this fall and are expected to come out by March 2000.