In recognition of three and a half decades as the leader in ambulatory health care accreditation, we’re marking our 35th anniversary this week, during which time we’ll highlight the evolution of our high-quality Standards of care, commemorate long-term partners and celebrate the peer-driven accreditation process we’ve championed.
An August 2014 survey of AAAHC accredited organizations offers another cause for celebration. Ninety-one percent of respondents said they place significant value on the well-established foundation and experience that AAAHC offers and 98 percent of respondents said they will return to AAAHC when it comes time to reaccredit.
Distinguishing Industry Standards
Since our inception, we’ve maintained that a voluntary, peer-based, consultative and educational survey process is one of the most powerful ways to demonstrate that an ambulatory health facility is meeting high-quality Standards. The AAAHC accreditation process includes an on-site review by expert surveyors who have decades of experience as health care professionals – from physicians and nurses to medical directors and administrators.
Over the past 35 years, we’ve demonstrated an ability to access the evolving needs of various health care settings, adding new Standards in areas such as dentistry, behavioral health and health education and wellness, while annually updating existing Standards to reflect cutting-edge ambulatory care knowledge and practice. Such efforts have ranged from offering the most comprehensive Patient-Centered Medical Home accreditation and certification programs available to streamlining the accreditation process for ambulatory surgery centers.
Commemorating Long-term Partners
A key component in the AAAHC accreditation process is the personal commitment of each provider team to welcome peer-based personal and organizational evaluation. As part of the 35th anniversary celebration, we recently presented commemorative plaques to two shining examples of ambulatory health care organizations that have earned AAAHC accreditation for 35 consecutive years strong.
Boynton Health Service is a primary health care provider serving University of Minnesota students, staff and faculty. In 1979, Boynton was the first college health facility to achieve AAAHC accreditation. The Banner Health Phoenix Surgicenter, the first free-standing, multi-specialty surgery center in the country, also has been accredited by AAAHC for the past 35 years.
Marking 35 Years of Achievements
We’ve attained a number of achievements in our 35-year history, including:
- Expanding services by launching an accreditation program for health care plans and managed care in 1983
- Founding the AAAHC Institute for Quality Improvement (AAAHC Institute) in 1999 to provide ambulatory health care organizations opportunities to benchmark their Standards of care on a national level through participation in clinical performance measurement and quality improvement studies
- Obtaining approval by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for Medicare Advantage plans in 2007
- Becoming the official accrediting organization of the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Coast Guard
- Establishing Acreditas Global, the international arm of AAAHC, in 2010 to help providers in other countries that seek accreditation for their ambulatory health care services
- Creating the Accreditation Association for Hospitals/Health Systems, Inc. (AAHHS), which in early 2014 began offering a nationally recognized, comprehensive accreditation program customized for small, rural, and critical access hospitals
- Earning the endorsement of the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to accredit qualified health plans under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in early 2014
- Helping more than 400 Walgreens Healthcare Clinics nationwide make the transition from a traditional retail store to a community health care destination through AAAHC accreditation
- Experiencing astonishing overall growth – from accrediting just a few hundred organizations in 1979 to nearly 6,000 organizations in 2014
“Through its wealth of resources, education and training that offer ongoing consultation and professional development, AAAHC will continue to provide organizations the assurance that they will remain at the forefront of optimum ambulatory care,” said Dr. Burke. “Our 35th anniversary is a significant milestone, marking a rich history to be followed by a bright future.”