We’re often asked what the steps are in the process of becoming nationally accredited. While the specifics vary by accrediting body (COA, CARF, Joint Commission), the basics remain the same. Here’s what to expect on your path to accreditation.
Step 1: Choose an accrediting body
As a part of your research, consider not just the cost, but the length of the process, how each specific accreditation will benefit your agency or organization, if that accreditation will help you reach the goals you have in mind, and how it will fit with—or enhance—your unique organization.
Step 2: Get a copy of the accreditation requirements
Obtain and review a copy of the accreditation requirements and standards for the accreditor(s) you are considering. Decide if the requirements are a good fit, not just in the ease of completion, but also by how much they can help your organization grow and improve.
Step 3: Conduct a gap analysis
Once an accrediting body is chosen, dig into the accreditation requirements and, one by one, conduct a gap analysis. For the requirements that have not been met, figure out what is needed to “close the gap”.
Step 4: Close the gaps
Put new policies into place one by one until all the “gaps” are closed. It’s important to remember, though, to treat both the preparation period and the survey as learning opportunities that will help you become a better organization.
Step 5: Undergo the accreditation review
Most organizations are going to have at least a few findings on their survey. Remember, this feedback can help make your organization stronger. Ask questions or seek advice. Use the opportunity of having these experts in to take a close look at what you do.
Step 6: Fix any findings from the review
Then celebrate your achievement! Let your community know about your new status as well, and what it means.
Step 7: Stay in compliance
To make things go more smoothly during the next round, stay current with any changes in required activities between accreditation reviews. Also, let your accrediting body know of any big changes at your organization, such as new programs or locations.
Have more specific questions? Ask the accrediting bodies for specifics on their accreditation process. If you need help with any of the steps or are looking to accelerate the process, give us a call at 212.945.8504 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.