to main content Process for Critical Access Hospital Accreditation | The Joint Commission

Process Steps

Curious what your path to critical access hospital accreditation looks like? Here are some steps to guide you through the accreditation process with confidence.
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Learn More about Working with Us

To get started, familiarize yourself with the accreditation process and what it means for your organization. You can request 90-day free trial access to our online accreditation standards manual, and sign up for E-Alerts to receive important email updates from The Joint Commission.
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Review the Requirements

Review the requirements that your organization will need to meet for accreditation. Also, familiarize yourself with the Joint Commission’s tracer survey process and SAFER™ scoring methodology. Contact us to walk you through an orientation.
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Assess Your Readiness

Once you know what requirements apply to you, you’ll need to determine where you are already meeting the requirements, and where policies or procedures will need to change. If you need any help interpreting the standards or what to do to meet them, visit our standards interpretation section to view FAQs or submit a question.
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Apply for Accreditation

When you are ready to apply, get in touch with our team to get started. Then, complete your application and submit your $1700 deposit. You will be able to indicate on the application a realistic “ready” date within the next 12 months for your on-site survey.
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Prepare for Your On-Site Survey

Plan how you want to describe your program in the opening conference, decide who will accompany the surveyor and ensure you have at least four months of data on your measures.
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Address Any Identified Gap Areas

Establish a timeline to implement any improvements so that you are in compliance with all the standards by the time of your on-site survey.
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Participate in Your Joint Commission Survey

On your scheduled date(s), you’ll meet your trained and qualified Joint Commission surveyor and undergo our comprehensive on-site survey. Your preliminary “Summary of Survey Findings Report” will be made available to you at the close of the survey.
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Complete Any Post Survey Follow Up Activities

  • Address your organization’s requirements for improvement.
  • Complete and submit your Evidence of Standards Compliance within 60 days.
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Celebrate/Publicize Your Accomplishment

When you’ve attained The Gold Seal of Approval® – let the world know! Explore our publicity kit for tips and artwork to use. Your organization will be listed on our page of accredited organizations by The Joint Commission.
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Maintain Survey Readiness

Maintain your compliance with Joint Commission requirements to make your next survey in three years go even smoother. Stay up to date on any standards that may be revised or added via your Joint Commission Connect® extranet site.

Understand Your Survey

The Joint Commission’s accreditation survey helps organizations improve the safety and quality of care and services. The process begins with an on-site survey that assesses compliance with Joint Commission standards.

Joint Commission surveyors are specially trained professionals with experience in the critical access hospital industry who understand the day-to-day issues that confront providers and have the hands-on expertise to help organizations resolve them.

On-site surveys involve:

  • Tracing the patient’s experience, which involves observing services provided by various caregivers and programs within the organization, as well as hand-offs between them
  • On-site observations and interviews
  • Assessment of the physical facility
  • Review of documents provided by the organization

Ready to Move On?

Understand the Process

You're familiar with the accreditation and survey process.

Next Step

Get accreditation pricing information for your organization.