Benefits of National Accreditation

Becoming accredited offers human service organizations professional recognition for meeting the highest standards in quality service delivery while providing clients with an appropriate tool for effectively evaluating service providers. Organizations that achieve accreditation have reached beyond the minimum licensing standards and made a long-term commitment to strong management, program consistency, outcome measurements and continuous improvement throughout their agencies.

Accreditation takes an agency through a process that goes above and beyond being licensed. In addition to improving agency administration through enhanced internal policies and procedures, a strong focus is made on evaluating performance throughout an organization and identifying trends and ways to make key improvements.

In the area of risk management, agencies often realize improved risk mitigation as a result of being accredited. This can be through improved financial controls, a more thorough risk review than might normally be completed, establishment of an audit committee and more.[1]

There is also a strong focus on the health and safety of staff and clients, ethical practices and governance and financial controls, among others.

Whether accredited by CARF, Council on Accreditation (COA) or Joint Commission (formerly JCAHO), organizational growth/stability and improved services can be attributed to factors including:

  • An ongoing focus on quality improvement (QI) and measuring the outputs and outcomes (effectiveness) of services delivered
  • Effective risk management
  • Attention to health and safety practices
  • Sound ethical practices
  • Governance responsibilities
  • Successful recruitment and retention strategies
  • Maintaining positive visibility via compelling marketing campaigns – Potential clients face a variety of options when deciding where to seek much-needed services and who should provide them. Accreditation is a definitive sign of quality and is an important consideration in their decision making.
  • Improved stakeholder communication, both incoming and outgoing communications
  • Across-the-board service planning and documentation
  • Consistently trained, competent staff
  • Appropriate client rights, confidentiality and informed consent policies/procedures

A recent study found the following significant improvements to CARF-accredited programs as compared to their pre-accreditation status:

  • 26% increase in persons served annually.
  • 37% increase in conformance to quality standards.
  • 37% increase in annual budget dollars.

Some of the expected benefits of accreditation include, but are not limited to:

  • Higher reimbursement rates in some states for services provided
  • Reduced insurance premiums
  • Additional funding sources through recognition from governments, foundations and grant makers
  • More efficient organizational processes
  • Improved internal and external stakeholder communication
  • Enriched staff training programs which, in part, lead to enhanced services to clients

Accreditation has become a necessity for all service organizations participating in today’s competitive environment that will position them to become reputable, dependable, long-term care providers within their communities. Accreditation places an organization on the track to doing those things that SHOULD be done during the course of daily operations that often get placed on the back burner or left out altogether. Improved documentation is the start of a process that will thoroughly enhance your organization from the inside out.

For more information or for assistance with becoming nationally accredited, contact us at


[1] One benefit of risk mitigation: A human services agency on the Mississippi gulf coast had become accredited for the first time in early 2005, a few months before hurricane Katrina decimated the entire area. Within 6 months the agency had become fully operational and began providing much-needed services while other nearby organizations were still out of commission and remained so for more than a year after the damage had occurred. The Executive Director explicitly attributed this successful, timely recovery to having completed the accreditation process during which the agency not only reviewed and increased its insurance levels, but pointedly enhanced its emergency preparedness plan, as well.


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