Why accreditation? Quite simply, hospitals pursue accreditation because it is required in order for their organizations to receive payment from federally funded Medicare and Medicaid programs. Once a healthcare organization achieves accreditation through The Joint Commission or another approved agency, it has met the federal requirements.
In addition to hospitals, many other types of healthcare organizations can earn Joint Commission accreditation, including physician offices, nursing homes, office-based surgery centers, behavioral health treatment facilities and providers of home care services. The Joint Commission accredits more than 4,000 facilities throughout the United States, which accounts for approximately 78 percent of hospitals. Other agencies approve an additional 11 percent, bringing the total number of accredited healthcare facilities to 89 percent.
In addition to Medicare and Medicaid funds, other reasons motivate hospitals to place so much importance on receiving and maintaining accreditation. Some important factors include:
- Helping the organization focus on patient safety: Safety and quality have been the foundation of accreditation since the first standards were published in 1918.
- Solidifying the organization’s position: Accreditation can help define the organization’s position in the community—specifically, as a hospital that provides quality care.
- Decreasing costs: Insurance costs can decrease due to improved risk management practices resulting from being accredited.
- Being recognized professionally: Insurers and other managed-care organizations recognize accreditation as an important indicator that a facility provides high-quality care for enrollees.
- Having access to necessary resources: Accredited facilities have access to a network of tools and resources related to best practices in healthcare.
While the accreditation process is voluntary, many hospitals view it as essential. The overall benefit to the organization is substantial. Most importantly, when an organization meets national health, quality and safety standards, patients who are treated at the facility can be assured they are receiving the best care. These standards are imperative when individuals and families make critical healthcare decisions. Accreditation ensures high-quality outcomes to the patients and communities the hospital serves.