Thank You Hospitals, Nurses and all Health Care Workers

May is a month to celebrate and honor our hospitals, health care workers and nurses who have sacrificed so much in the last few years. Nurses are the heart of heath care and hospitals help miracles happen! The District of Columbia Hospital Association loves our DC health care community!

Every day, more than 30,000 dedicated health care professionals go to work in DC hospitals. Thank you to all the HEROES working to take care of us – no matter what!

#HospitalProud #NursesWeek

The Joint Commission Releases Requirements for COVID Vaccination of Health Care Personnel

On February 16, 2022, The Joint Commission shared required documentation for COVID vaccination among health care staff.  The Joint Commission will now be requiring health care facilities to provide the following documentation:

  1. Overall COVID vaccination rate of eligible staff
  2. A list of all staff, including positions/titles, including COVID vaccination status
  3. All policies regarding health care staff COVID vaccinations
    • Policies for COVID vaccination exemptions
    • Policies for COVID vaccination requirements
    • Policies for mitigation of unvaccinated staff
  4. List of newly hired staff in last 60 days

New Requirements

  • A process for tracking and securely documenting the COVID-19 vaccination status of all staff.
  • A process for tracking and securely documenting the COVID-19 vaccination status of any staff who have obtained any booster doses as recommended by the CDC.
  • A process by which staff may request an exemption from the staff COVID-19 vaccination requirements based on an applicable federal law.
  • A process for tracking and securely documenting information provided by those staff who have requested, and for whom the organization has granted, an exemption from the staff COVID-19 vaccination requirements based on recognized clinical contraindications or applicable federal laws.
    • Surveyors will not assess the appropriateness of clinical contraindications or religious exemptions.
  • A process for ensuring that all documentation that confirms recognized clinical contraindications to COVID-19 vaccines and supports staff requests for medical exemptions from vaccination has been signed and dated by a licensed practitioner who is not the individual requesting the exemption, and who is acting within their respective scope of practice as defined by, and in accordance with, all applicable state and local laws. Such documentation contains:
    • All information specifying which of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines are clinically contraindicated for the staff member to receive the recognized clinical reasons for the contraindications.
    • A statement by the authenticating practitioner recommending that the staff member be exempted from the organization’s COVID-19 vaccination requirements for staff based on the recognized clinical contraindications.
    • Surveyors only evaluate that the documentation is complete; they do not assess the appropriateness of clinical contraindications or religious exemptions.

Vaccination Rate Calculation

  • Numerator Includes
    • Pending religious or medical exemption (during first 30 days of implementation)
    • Approved religious or medical exemption
    • Persons having an approved CDC temporary delay for vaccination
    • Persons with clinical contraindication to receiving COVID vaccine
    • Staff who have received at least one dose of a vaccine should be placed in the numerator of the calculation during first 30 days
  • Who Must be Vaccinated?
    • Facility employees
    • Licensed practitioners
    • Students
    • Trainees
    • Volunteers
    • Contracted staff
    • Staff who perform duties offsite (e.g., home health) and to individuals who enter CMS regulated facilities (i.e., a physician with privileges in a hospital who is admitting and/or treating patients onsite)

DCHA Partners with XFERALL to Provide DC Hospitals Access to a Solution to Accelerate Transfers of Medical and Behavioral Health Patients

The District of Columbia Hospital Association (DCHA) and XFERALL, the nation’s leading mobile patient transfer platform, have entered a partnership that offers DC hospitals a new process for transferring acute and behavioral health patients to clinically appropriate health care facilities.

The District, as is the country, is experiencing a high volume of behavioral health patients, which results in an increased need for crisis services. DCHA and XFERRAL both recognize the importance of a collaborative approach to creating innovative solutions with diverse partners to support behavioral health access.

XFERALL reduces transfer times for medical and behavioral health patients between health care facilities.

This is one of many projects DCHA works on to ensure behavioral health needs are being met. DCHA works on many initiatives that focus on serving the behavioral health community.

“Partnering with XFERALL on this important effort provides our members with an additional tool to continue our commitment to safe, high-quality patient care for all of the individuals our hospitals serve,” said Jacqueline D. Bowens, President & CEO, DCHA.

XFERALL’s partners in other states have achieved reductions in wait times for transfer to appropriate care by as much as 86 percent.

“We’re excited to bring our innovative platform to DC hospitals to help reduce wait times for essential medical and behavioral health care,” said Nathan Read, CEO, XFERALL. “Too many patients in crisis are waiting too long for care. We know that outcomes are better when patients care is not delayed and is accessible in their community. In partnership with XFERALL, DC hospitals are working to deliver solutions that address the serious challenges of crowded emergency departments, clinician burnout, and delays in care.”

DCHA is the unifying voice for hospitals and health systems in the District of Columbia and works to advance health policy to strengthen the District’s world-class health care system to ensure that it is equitable and accessible to all.

Reducing ED Board Times and Improving Placement, Even During the Pandemic

The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) in August last year identified boarding times for patients in hospital emergency departments as at an “all-time high.” This is for all patients waiting to be transferred to a different facility for needed treatment, whether a behavioral health facility or hospital providing a higher level of acute care.

ACEP identified two reasons for increasing boarding times: 1) hospital staffing shortages and 2) influx of seriously ill patients, with COVID-19 and with other emergent conditions, in part due to patients’ delaying necessary medical care during the pandemic.

For patients needing behavioral health treatment, even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the average wait time in an acute hospital ED conservatively was estimated at eight hours. Anecdotally, however, hospitals across the country often reported much longer wait times as clinically appropriate, available psychiatric beds were hard to identify, particularly for certain populations, such as children and adolescents, older patients, and those with co-occurring conditions.

Today, just five months after ACEP raised concerns about all-time high boarding times, the problem is yet more serious as the country is experiencing an even-higher number of COVID-19 cases, fueled by the Omicron variant, and even more acute staffing shortages.

For hospitals using XFERALL to automate and expedite acute medical and behavioral health patient transfers, the picture is not as bleak. In Texas alone, hospitals using XFERALL to transfer medical patients between August 2020 and July 2021 got a response from a receiving hospital to their transfer request in less than 1 minute, 18 seconds and secured acceptance for patient transfer in less than 20 minutes. Over the last two years, even during the pandemic, XFERALL’s partners reduced behavioral health patient transfer times by 86%.

XFERALL empowers health care systems and providers to quickly identify medical and behavioral hospitals with the capacity and capability to accept patients for transfer. The XFERALL technology automates the patient transfer process, creating less work for the health care provider and improving emergency department capacity by reducing transfer times. By automating the patient transfer process and increasing visibility into a wider network of potentially available beds, XFERALL eliminates the need for nurses and other clinicians to make labor-intensive phone calls and faxes to identify clinically appropriate care for patients needing transfer.

There is no easy fix to the nation’s health care staffing crisis, and the end to COVID-19 remains elusive. The good news is that hospitals nonetheless can reduce care delays and mitigate the consequences of the staffing shortage by implementing internal logistics and operations that accelerate the effective and efficient transition of patients to appropriate treatment. Improvement starts with questioning old habits of picking up the phone and faxing clinical information and being open to modernizing the patient transfer process. There’s never been a more urgent time to do so.

To learn more about the work with DC-area hospitals and behavioral health teams, contact Jennifer Witten, senior vice president, government affairs and policy, at

DCHA Announces 2022 Slate of Board of Director Officers

The District of Columbia Hospital Association (DCHA) at its December 15 Board of Directors Annual Meeting, voted to elect a new slate of Board officers for terms beginning in January 2022. DCHA is the unifying voice for hospitals and health systems in the District of Columbia and works to advance health policy to strengthen the District’s world-class health care system to ensure that it is equitable and accessible to all. The DCHA Board of Directors sets the strategic direction for the association. The 2022 Board Officers are:

Dr. Hasan Zia, Board Chair
President & Chief Operating Officer, Sibley Memorial Hospital

Anita Jenkins, Vice Chair
Chief Executive Officer, Howard University Hospital

Dr. Christopher King, Secretary
Associate Professor, Georgetown University Medical Center

Dania O’Connor, Treasurer
Chief Executive Officer, Psychiatric Institute of Washington

John Rockwood, Immediate Past Chair
President, MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital & Senior Vice President, MedStar Health

Jacqueline D. Bowens, President & Chief Executive Officer
District of Columbia Hospital Association

In addition to the new Board of Directors, DCHA appointed one At-Large member and welcomed a new addition to the Board with the departure of James Linhares from BridgePoint Hospital Capitol Hill:

Kathy Hollinger, At-Large Board Member
President & Chief Executive Officer, Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington

Ryan Zumalt, Board Director Chief Executive Officer, BridgePoint Hospital Capitol Hill

“DCHA is privileged to have such an esteemed group of individuals serve the association, our hospitals and the residents of the District of Columbia,” said Jacqueline D. Bowens, President and CEO of DCHA.



Meeting Schedule for ONE-DC Members

Save the dates for upcoming member meetings which are the first Tuesday of every other month from 5:30-6:30 pm.

  • March 1 @ 5:30-6:30 pm
  • May 3 @ 5:30-6:30 pm
  • July 5 @ 5:30-6:30 pm
  • September 6 @ 5:30-6:30 pm
© 2021. District of Columbia Hospital Association.