In a recent blog post, we shared with you the significance of cost and timing considerations when choosing an accrediting body. Here we discuss several additional components that should be thoroughly evaluated as your organization chooses an accrediting agency:
Fit with accreditation requirements
- One of the most important things you can do when assessing an accrediting body is to review its accreditation requirements or standards. If your organization already meets many of the requirements of one or more of the accreditors this can be advantageous by providing you with a ‘head start’ in the accreditation process. However, ease of meeting requirements is only one factor. Other considerations include the financial and human resource expenditures, if any, that will be required to achieve compliance with additional requirements, as well as whether the accrediting standards are in line with those of your organization. Be sure the accrediting body you choose appropriately reflects your agency’s goals and standards – now and in the future.
- The accreditor’s reputation should be a key consideration when choosing an accrediting body. CARF, COA, and The Joint Commission each have individual strengths. Attention should be given to which accrediting body best aligns with your organization’s scope of services, among others. Does the accrediting body support the needs of your agency? Be sure to seek opinions from other accredited organizations; honest feedback about the process and other considerations can provide valuable insight as you evaluate your options. Most accrediting bodies encourage communication with their accredited agencies so that you can hear firsthand from others who have been through their process.
Desired impact and benefits
- Finally, consider why you are choosing accreditation in the first place. If it is simply to meet a mandate by your state or association, you may only need to choose one of the approved accreditors from their list. However, if you are looking to improve your operations or are seeking guidance as you add new programs and/or services, more research may be required. If part of your funding will be coming from third party payers (such as private insurance payments or managed care), for instance, it is important to determine whether one accrediting body is preferred over another. Consider, too, present and potential partner agencies – especially if there may be a merger in the future. Would being accredited by one agency provide an advantage over another?
We hope these considerations have provided you with useful insight as you make your accrediting body decision. Whichever accreditor your organization chooses, we are here to help you navigate the road to accreditation. For additional information, please contact Jennifer at 212.945.8504 or send questions to info@AccreditationGuru.com.