Benefits of Accreditation
When clients need healthcare services, they are referred by payers and referral sources to organizations that have reputations for being competent and credible. Accreditation is an indication that high quality services are provided. Through the process of accreditation, conformance to a set of recognized standards is reviewed to ensure that the agency is operating at the highest level of organizational effectiveness and efficiency.
During the accreditation process, a set of standards is applied to service areas and practices during an on-site survey. Accreditation surveyors conducting these external reviews are recognized experts who provide impartial evaluation of the quality of care, treatment, and services delivered to clients. Once accredited, the organization is expected to demonstrate commitment to continuous quality improvement.
Accreditation can benefit an agency in a variety of ways:
- High standards. Through the accreditation process and ongoing review, the organization is encouraged to display high ethical and professional standards.
- Assurance of Quality. Accreditation is evidence that quality services are being provided and that the organization adequately demonstrates a commitment to continuous quality improvement. Accreditation is evidence to persons served, referral sources, payers, and government entities that an organization has demonstrated its commitment to encouraging feedback, continuously improving services, enhancing performance, and managing risk. When an organization is accredited, persons served and their families can be confident that services will be focused on their unique needs, strengths, abilities, and preferences.
- Improved Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Teamwork. Accreditation requires organizations to take an objective view of their programs, to make sure that not only are policies and procedures in place and standardized, but also that they are documented and implemented. Because of this, accredited organizations are known to have more effective policies and procedures, maintain better records, and are more likely to have positive client outcomes as well as improved teamwork among governance, leadership, staff, and clients.
- Fiscal Savings. Financial institutions (e.g., investment bankers, insurance carriers, rating agencies) recognize that accredited organizations have more efficient operations, provide better services, and are more fiscally responsible. Accreditation is viewed as a sign of financial stability. Because of this, financial institutions often respond by offering savings on future transactions. Accreditation may also have a positive effect on liability insurance premiums and may improve consideration for managed care contracts.
- Risk Management. Accredited programs are considered lower risks, in part because they conform to accreditation standards related to risk management, human resources, health and safety, corporate compliance, and business practices.
- Public Trust and Confidence. Because accreditation is an objective measure of quality, clients as well as referral sources and payers are more likely to choose organizations that have earned and maintained accreditation.
- Marketing Advantage and Competitive Edge. Accreditation aids in recruiting experienced professional staff and serves as a positive marketing tool that can be used on websites, brochures, etc.
- Fulfillment of Licensure Laws. Several states have mandated accreditation through CARF, COA, or TJC (formerly JCAHO), to include: Arizona; Arkansas; Ohio; Florida; Georgia; Idaho; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Michigan; Nebraska; New Mexico; North Carolina; Oklahoma; and Wyoming.
- Accountability and Transparency. In today’s world, organizations are held to very high levels of accountability by payers, referral sources, persons served, and the general public. Accreditation demonstrates a willingness to go above and beyond the minimums required by law.