The Joint Commission this week issued new requirements for hospitals that provide health and wellness programs. Institutions accredited or applying for accreditation in behavior healthcare must have a written plan, get input from the community and use evidence-based guidelines, effective Jan. 1, 2013. Under the new rules, healthcare organizations must have staff who are trained or certified to deliver health and wellness services, although organizations may provide internal training. The Joint Commission also requires that healthcare organizations measure and review their wellness programs and make improvements when necessary.
The new rules come as more hospitals promote healthy living among their employees and patients by instituting no-smoking rules, enrolling workers into exercise programs or offering healthier cafeteria choices. In addition to improving population health, such health and wellness services can give hospitals a competitive edge, experts said at the American College of Healthcare Executives' annual congress in March.