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AAAHC announces policy change to three-year accreditation term

Shorter terms to be discontinued, replaced by plans for improvement, interim surveys - 11/29/2011

The Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) announced today that all AAAHC accreditations will be for a standard three-year term and the less common six-month and one-year terms will be discontinued. Following an accreditation survey, there now will be only two possible outcomes: a three-year term or a denial of accreditation. The policy is effective for organizations that apply for accreditation on or after March 1, 2012, or have their surveys conducted on or after July 1, 2012.

Organizations that receive accreditation but have some deficiencies will be required to submit a Plan for Improvement (PFI) within 10 days of receiving the accreditation decision. Organizations applying for Medicare deemed status must submit a plan that addresses all deficiencies, including those cited by AAAHC and by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

After reviewing the plans for improvement and the survey report, the AAAHC Accreditation Committee will determine if an organization will require an interim survey. Organizations that demonstrate compliance with all AAAHC Standards at the interim survey will maintain accreditation for the remainder of the three-year term. Organizations not in compliance may have their accreditation term revoked.

"It is important to note that organizations that received six-month or one-year terms in the past were deemed to deliver high quality care worthy of accreditation despite the identification of some deficiencies that required correction," said John Burke, PhD, executive vice president and chief executive officer, AAAHC."

We hope the three-year term requiring an interim survey will remove any perceived stigma associated with shorter accreditation terms and ease difficulties with some third-party payers that are reluctant to award contracts to organizations receiving less than a three-year accreditation," he said. The scope of the AAAHC accreditation survey and process will not change as a result of this policy change and organizations will retain the right to appeal a denial of accreditation. In accordance with existing AAAHC policies, random and discretionary surveys of any organization also may be conducted.

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Geoffrey Charlton-Perrin
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