AAAHC Standards

The Standards in the AAAHC Accreditation Handbook for Ambulatory Health Care describe characteristics indicative of an accreditable ambulatory health care organization. Most Standards are written in general terms to allow an organization to achieve compliance in the manner that is most compatible with its particular practice setting and most conducive to high-quality patient care. Where the acceptable methods of achieving compliance with a Standard are limited, the Standard is written in specific terms.

Application of the Standards

The core Standards contained in Chapters 1–8 are applied to all organizations seeking an accreditation survey. The adjunct Standards, contained in Chapters 9–25, will be applied based on the services provided by the organization. For example, immediate/urgent care centers, radiation oncology treatment centers, and occupational health centers must meet the adjunct Standards for these settings in the Handbook, as well as all core Standards and other applicable adjunct Standards, such as those for pathology and medical laboratory services, and diagnostic and other imaging services.

Similarly, ASCs and office-based surgery organizations must meet the core Standards, plus the adjunct Standards for anesthesia care services and surgical and related services, as well as all other relevant adjunct Standards. Certain large multispecialty group practices or hospital-sponsored ambulatory health care programs may find that all of the adjunct Standards in the Handbook will be applicable. Questions about the applicability of Standards and chapters should be directed to the AAAHC office.

Throughout the Handbook, reference is made to specific documents or standards published by other organizations. Subsequent editions of these publications become the authoritative reference of AAAHC only after they have been approved as such by the AAAHC Board of Directors.

All organizations seeking accreditation, regardless of name, mission statement, or primary service provided, must meet the same high Standards described in the Handbook.

Applicable Version of the Standards

An organization will be surveyed according to the prior year's Standards if both of the following conditions are met:

  • The Application for Survey is received by the AAAHC office on or before the last day of February.
  • The organization’s survey begins on or before the last day of June.

See a list of revisions that have been adopted for 2015. 

An organization will be surveyed according to the current calendar year Standards if the survey begins on or after July 1.

Comments and Suggestions about the Standards

AAAHC welcomes comments or suggestions at any time regarding the reasonableness or clarity of our Standards. These comments and suggestions should be sent to

Annually in the fall, revisions to AAAHC Standards proposed by the Standards and Survey Procedures Committee (SSPC) for the next year are available for a public comment period of 30 calendar days. A link to these proposed changes is posted on this website and the opening of the public comment period is announced. We actively solicit and invite comments from all interested parties.

The SSPC submits its original recommendations, all relevant public comments, and any subsequent revisions of the Committee to the AAAHC Board of Directors for review and final approval in early November.