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Community Health Centers

The Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC) Health Centers Accreditation Initiative is designed to:

  • Provide a means for health centers to integrate, monitor and improve the quality of health care.
  • Increase patient and staff safety in health centers.
  • Increase marketability of health center services within the community.
  • Provide a means for health centers to achieve patient-centered Medical Home recognition.

AAAHC has been awarded contracts to participate in the Health Centers Accreditation Initiative.

Under the Initiative, BPHC will address costs for: 

  • Accreditation Handbook for Ambulatory Health Care
  • Pre-survey assessment process
  • Technical Assistance
  • Application fee
  • Survey fee

AAAHC accreditation includes ambulatory, laboratory and behavioral health services in one survey.  Health Centers can also opt to have their Patient-Centered Medical Home model of care included as part of an accreditation or as a stand-alone certification survey.

Survey preparation and readiness

AAAHC will work directly with your approved health center to help you prepare for the survey. We can provide:

  • Accreditation Readiness
    A packet of information to familiarize approved health centers with the accreditation process and the responsibilities of both the AAAHC and the health center during the survey. Additional readiness activities include a pre-survey assessment conference call between the AAAHC surveyor and the health center.
  • Resource Library
    Web-based resources to assist with survey readiness. Contact us at info@aaahc.org for access to this password protected site.
  • Webinars on topics important to health centers.
  • Accreditation Handbook for Ambulatory Health Care
    AAAHC Standards are found in the Handbook. Compliance will be determined by:
    1.  Documented evidence, e.g., chart review, policies and procedures, credentialing and personnel records, etc.
    2.  Health center staff responses to detailed questions concerning implementation, i.e., staff interviews.
    3.  On-site observations and patient interview(s) by AAAHC surveyors.

Health centers that are found to be accreditable will be awarded a three-year term of accreditation. A Plan for Improvement (PFI) may be required when a portion of the health center’s operations is acceptable, but other areas need to be improved upon. The PFI should identify the steps and actions the center will take to to bring findings of non-compliant areas to an acceptable level of performance.

FREE HRSA Webinar Series

In March 2013, AAAHC launched a series of six webinars designed specifically for community health centers which remain available in the HRSA Resource Library. Contact us for access to the password protected link.

Each webinar focuses on one or more critical areas of activity or accreditation. The webinars are designed for Board Members, management team members, and health care professionals and led by AAAHC faculty highly experienced in community health center accreditation.

See the list of topics here

AAAHC Survey

The AAAHC survey process is designed to be interactive, educational, and consultative. Surveyors are established health care professionals who bring real-world experience to the process. During the survey, AAAHC surveyors may offer suggestions and consultative comments relating to how specific processes may be improved. While a final determination of the scope of survey (that is, the number of survey days and the number of surveyors) cannot be established until a completed application is received, most health centers can plan to be surveyed over a 2 1/2 day period by a team of 2 surveyors. We will work with health center staff to identify convenient survey dates.

Where to start

Health centers must first receive approval via the Health Center Accreditation Initiative by submitting a Notice of Interest (NOI) to HRSA at: accreditationinit@hrsa.gov. HRSA will review and notify, via email, the health center and AAAHC of the approval status. 

AAAHC will provide a Community Health Accreditation Kit. Approximately one week after receipt of these materials, the health center will be contacted to discuss the pre-survey assessment and application processes.

For additional information on the Health Center Accreditation Initiative see the HRSA website. To request additional information about AAAHC, a copy of the NOI, or the materials needed to prepare for a survey, please contact Mona Sweeney (847.324.7487).

Join us at these upcoming events: 

Achieving Accreditation Program 

June 20-21, 2014
Chicago, IL 

September 12-13, 2014
Boston, MA

December 5-6, 2014
Las Vegas