The rollout timeline for the new trauma center verification standards of the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma (ACS COT) was announced during the closing session of the 2021 TQIP Annual Conference.
Avery Nathens, MD, MPH, PhD, medical director of ACS trauma quality programs, revealed the release date of the new standards book and outlined the timeline for implementing the standards within the site survey process.
The rollout timeline will give trauma program leaders more than a year to prepare for verification/reverification visits under the new ACS standards.
The 2022 Resources Manual will be available in March 2022
The ACS trauma center standards were first introduced in 1976, and they were most recently revised in 2014 (the “old standards”).
According to Dr. Nathens, Resources for Optimal Care of the Injured Patient: 2022 Standards (the “new standards”) will be released in March 2022.
Current ACS plans are to conduct the first verification visits under the new standards in September 2023
The timeline for incorporating the new standards into the site survey process will vary depending on site visit type:
Verification visits (both initial visits and reverifications):
- Verification visits scheduled for August 2023 or earlier will be based on the old standards.
- Verification visits scheduled for September 2023 or later will be based on the new standards.
- Consultation visits scheduled for August 2022 or earlier will be based on the old standards.
- Consultation visits scheduled for February 2023 or later will be based on the new standards.
Note that there will be a 5-month hiatus (September 2022 through January 2023) during which no consultation visits will take place. “This hiatus is because we don’t want to be doing consults using the old standards for centers that are going to be verified under the new standards,” Dr. Nathens explained.
- Focused visits scheduled for August 2024 or earlier will be based on the old standards.
- Focused visits scheduled for September 2024 or later will be based on the new standards.
Training opportunities and new tools will be available in Spring 2022
Dr. Nathens also said the ACS will provide a variety of opportunities for trauma leaders to receive training on the new standards.
TPM and TMD focus groups: The ACS will conduct a series of small focus groups aimed at trauma program managers and trauma medical directors. The goal is to give trauma program leaders an introduction to the new standards and get their input on educational needs.
“We want to get input from those participating in the focus groups on what they think their training needs might be to better support the rollout of the standards,” Dr. Nathens said.
Dr. Nathens expects the focus groups to take place from February to April 2022. Requests for participation in the focus group process will be available soon.
Introductory sessions: Following the release of the 2022 Resources Manual in March, the ACS will hold a series of introductory educational sessions. The sessions will be geared toward all stakeholders, including trauma program leaders, hospital executives and regional trauma system leaders.
“Our hope is that these introductory educational sessions will … make everyone very comfortable with the new standards and what the expectations are,” Dr. Nathens said.
New administrative platform: Trauma program leaders will also have access to a new verification management platform in Spring 2022.
“We are modifying the platform that allows you to apply for verification, schedule your visit and use the PRQ, and there will be introductory sessions around this,” Dr. Nathens said. “The platform is called Qport, and you’ll be hearing more about this as well.”
Site visits will be either virtual or in-person depending on visit type
During the opening session of the TQIP conference, Dr. Nathens explained the ACS’s planned approach to using virtual visits versus in-person visits:
- Reverification site visits and focused visits will be conducted virtually.
- Initial verification site visits and consultation visits may be conducted in-person. In-person visits will not start until after July 2022.
According to Dr. Nathens, this approach to remote and in-person site visits will be used “over the ensuing year or couple of years.”