The Joint Commission has accredited hospitals for more than 60 years. In 2001, The Joint Commission introduced a new program to accredit critical access hospitals. CAHs are hospitals identified by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services as having met, or eligible to meet, the conditions for becoming a CAH, that is, the hospital:
- Maintains no more than 25 total beds, including both acute care and/or swing beds.
- Keeps patients hospitalized 96 hours or less.
- Has received authorization to become a CAH from the state office of rural health.