By: Romana Brigante on January 6th, 2020

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How JCAHO Accreditation Can Transform Your Behavioral Health Facility

In an industry as hectic as health care, finding the time and discipline to evaluate yourself can be very difficult.

The day to day demands of behavioral health and addiction treatment can make it challenging for a facility to objectively assess its overall performance.

However, being able to monitor your facility’s performance is critical to the short term success and long term growth of your operation.

Fortunately, there are organizations that understand the importance of monitoring the performance of health care providers to improve processes and facilitate consistent growth.

This article will highlight the most prominent of such organizations – The Joint Commission – and how their accreditation process can transform the efficacy and efficiency of your behavioral health facility.

What is The Joint Commission?

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) is the largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. They establish treatment and operational standards that serve as the structure to an unbiased evaluation process for health care organizations.

A non-profit organization, The Joint Commission collaborates with a variety of experienced health care professionals to create and enforce their requirements.

By adhering to JCAHO standards, health care organizations can more precisely measure, assess and improve performance.

What Can You Earn from The Joint Commission?

Health care facilities can receive a JCAHO seal of approval in two ways:

  • Accreditation: Earn accreditation by meeting the requirements set for care and services provided for virtually any chronic disease and condition.
  • Certification: There are some diseases or conditions that JCAHO has not established accreditation guidelines for. In these cases, your facility can become certified in these specific diseases or conditions.

How Long Does Accreditation/Certification Last?

All accreditation are awarded for three years, besides laboratory accreditation, which must be earned every two years. 

Disease-specific care and services certifications are awarded for two years.

How Can JCAHO Accreditation/Certification Benefit Your Facility?

The Joint Commission creates and updates their stringent standards to promote the highest quality of care in those facilities who seek the JCAHO Gold Seal of Approval. Put simply, The Joint Commission provides guidelines to best serve your patients and run your facility. 

Let’s take a look at the many positives that come with JCAHO accreditation and certification. 


Insurance Companies May Reward Health Care Organizations Who Adhere to JCAHO Guidelines

Because JCAHO standards promote effective and safe treatment, they can be considered more insurable than organizations who cannot show the same dedication to excellence. 

If your facility is JCAHO accredited, you may be entitled to a lower cost in liability insurance coverage, as well as substantial reimbursements.

Furthermore, when one health care organization needs to refer a patient to another care provider, some insurance companies will request that they refer the patient to a JCAHO accredited operation. In this way, if your facility earns a Golden Seal of Approval, you may receive a higher rate of referrals.

Accreditation/Certification May Satisfy State Regulations

Some states may require certain health care organizations to acquire an accreditation as part of their quality oversight programs. If this is the case, being accredited by JCAHO may mean that your facility would not have to seek any other inspection to fulfill the state’s regulations.

Industry Distinction

JCAHO accreditation is a “badge of honor” for facilities. Current employees can feel proud they are working in a qualified and distinguished place. Prospective employees may be attracted to the level of quality and commitment your facility achieves through a JCAHO fulfillment. As a result, your facility can attract qualified and experienced personnel.  

And, most importantly, patients can feel at ease. JCAHO designation proves that your facility goes above and beyond to provide the best possible care, which can foster a high level of confidence in your facility.

Improved Decision Making

Many JCAHO requirements focus on measurement-based care that tracks the history and progress of a patient’s treatment. Through consistent monitoring and clinical decision support tools, your facility will be prepared to determine the best course for your patients based on real-time data. As a result, overall patient outcomes are improved.

Patient-Focused Care:

The JCAHO standards are based on the notion that patients are more than just names on a chart - they are individual humans with unique needs and values. Certain familial and cultural factors have been incorporated into the JCAHO requirements to promote the satisfaction of all patients.


Care Coordination

JCAHO guidelines facilitate the coordinated treatment of patients across the full continuum of care. For example, adhering to The Joint Commission’s standards allow all the necessary information to follow patients when they move to different levels of care, or different sites.

Greater Access to Care for Patients

The Joint Commission standards call for a variety of practices that improve the access patients have to treatment. Patients of a JCAHO accredited facility will experience limited waiting times for pressing treatment, extended hours of operation, 24/7 remote or electronic access to care providers, and secondary communication methods.

External, Intensive Review Process

Fulfilling every JCAHO standard can be rather difficult for a health care organization. Adhering to their guidelines can sometimes feel disruptive and laborious for clinicians. However, needing to satisfy The Joint Commission’s comprehensive requirements should be considered a luxury as well.

The accreditation and certification standards give your facility a meticulously structured blueprint to provide the highest quality of care to your patients.

In fact, a case can be made that The Joint Commission has the much more difficult task of creating and updating standards for the entire spectrum of health care. As a facility, all you need to do is follow their directions to succeed.

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A Credit To AURA

When you choose AURA, Sigmund’s enterprise software solution, you not only get an EHR that is ahead of the JCAHO requirement curve, you also get a platform that helps your facility produce the best possible outcomes for you and your patients.

Here are a few of AURA’s features that are in sync with the JCAHO standards for behavioral health and addiction treatment:

  • Assessments: A part of the measurement-based care, AURA’s customizable assessments allow you to ask your patients the right questions to get critical data that informs decisions and treatment plans.
  • Patient Portal: Making patient data collection and communication easier is important for everyone involved. With AURA, patients can self-report, view their information and get messages from their providers.
  • Data Aggregation: With the information collected from assessments, AURA aggregates the data to give your facility “at-a-glance” trends and deep data dives - complete with analytics and reports.
  • Tasking and Alerts: Ensure the safety of patients by providing treatment-critical information through comprehensive decision support features.

Curious to see how AURA can assist your behavioral health or addiction treatment facility fulfill The Joint Commission’s requirements? Schedule a demo with one of our knowledgeable professionals today!