The Joint Commission’s Ambulatory Care Accreditation program was established in 1975, and today more than 2,100 freestanding ambulatory care organizations are Joint Commission-accredited. These organizations generally fall into the categories of surgical, medical/dental, diagnostic/therapeutic services, and episodic care. Examples of facilities that can be accredited include ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs), catheterization labs, clinics, dental practices, dialysis centers, urgent care centers, imaging centers, in vitro fertilization clinics, medical group practices, and telemedicine providers.
Joint Commission standards address the ambulatory care organization’s performance in specific areas, and specify requirements to ensure that patient care and services are provided in a safe manner. The Joint Commission develops its standards in consultation with health care experts, providers and researchers, as well as purchasers and consumers. The Comprehensive Accreditation Manual for Ambulatory Care is available for purchase in both hardcover and electronic format.
The Joint Commission’s accreditation process concentrates on operational systems critical to the safety and quality of patient care. Surveys are conducted by professionals with at least five years of leadership experience in an ambulatory care organization, and a strong educational background. Ambulatory care surveyors have advanced medical or clinical degrees and receive continuing education to keep them up-to-date on advances in quality-related performance evaluation.
Primary Care Medical Home Certification
Primary Care Medical Home (PCMH) Certification for Joint Commission accredited ambulatory care organizations focuses on care coordination, access to care, and how effectively a primary care clinician and interdisciplinary team work in partnership with the patient (and where applicable, their family). The PCMH certification option is consistent with the new federal health care reform efforts to improve health outcomes and the continuity, quality and efficiency of health care services.
Cost of accreditation
Joint Commission accreditation fees are based on a combination of an on-site survey fee billed during the year of the organization’s on-site survey and an annual fee billed in January of each year. An organization’s survey fees are based on the type of services provided, volume, and the sites to be included in the organization’s accreditation. In addition, modest fees are charged for organizations opting to obtain ASC deemed status, or Advanced Diagnostic Imaging or Primary Care Medical Home certification. For more information about pricing, visit the Ambulatory Care Web page.
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