Facts about Critical Access Hospital Accreditation | Joint Commission
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Facts about Critical Access Hospital Accreditation

January 28, 2018

The Joint Commission has accredited hospitals for more than 60 years. In 2001, The Joint Commission introduced its program to accredit critical access hospitals. In 2002, The Joint Commission obtained deemed status recognition for its critical access hospital accreditation program from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), allowing The Joint Commission to conduct both conversion (the initial survey to become a critical access hospital) and recertification surveys. As of January 2018, there were 1,380 critical access hospitals in the U.S. The Joint Commission currently accredits 367 critical access hospitals.

Critical access hospitals are identified by CMS as having met, or eligible to meet, the conditions for becoming a critical access hospital, 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 critical access hospital from the state office of rural health.

The critical access hospital program was developed with careful consideration of the Medicare Conditions of Participation (COPs) requirements for critical access hospitals. As required to maintain deeming authority, all Medicare COPs for critical access hospitals are encompassed by Joint Commission standards published in the Accreditation Manual for Critical Access Hospitals. Certain standards link directly to specific Medicare COPs. While some of the standards are different than those in the Joint Commission’s hospital accreditation manual, the functional performance areas are identical. The accreditation policies, including the Sentinel Event Policy and the Accreditation Participation Requirements (except for ORYX performance measurement requirements) are also identical to the hospital program.

Cost of critical access hospital accreditation
The on-site survey fee is invoiced after the on-site survey is concluded and covers survey-related direct costs. The annual fee, which is based on an organization’s volume and type of services provided, is due each January and covers Joint Commission accreditation related services. For 2018, the annual fee for critical access hospitals is $2,690 and the on-site survey fees range from $7,900 to $9,200, depending on survey length, number of surveyors and type of survey. For more information about pricing, contact The Joint Commission’s Pricing Unit at 630-792-5115. 

Read more about critical access hospital accreditation

Contact Us or call Patrick Phelan at 630-792-5145.