Starting the accreditation process can be overwhelming: from determining which accrediting body to work with, to obtaining buy in from the board of directors and staff, to creating your team. In this video Jennifer highlights initial items to consider when beginning the road to national accreditation.
Since 2018, there has been significant merger and acquisition activity in the behavioral healthcare field, but why? Individuals are becoming more aware of healthcare issues; there is less stigma about seeking help for mental health struggles; and more effective treatments are now available. This has created increased demand for and use of mental health and addiction treatment services, as well as channeling more funding towards meeting the demand and growing need. Not only this, but as individuals, including professionals, gain understanding of the link between mental and physical wellbeing, more integration of physical and behavioral health care is occurring. So, where does accreditation come in?
There are a number of accrediting bodies that work to ensure providers of substance use disorder treatment and mental health services meet specific, nationally accepted standards, including The Joint Commission, CARF International, Council on Accreditation (a service of Social Current) and others.
Accreditation requirements (standards of safety and quality of care) center around three main areas: documentation, facilities, and people. Documentation standards focus on written plans; polices and procedures; clinical records; and personnel files. For people, standards address not only the care of the persons served, but also those that provide it. Facility standards ensure that the physical environment where care is being provided is safe, healthy, and therapeutic for everyone within. All these standards create stability within an organization, which is a favorable factor in M&A activity.
Achieving accreditation also gives a behavioral health organization a framework for growth and management of their internal resources. It helps to standardize clinical processes and documentation and provides an external validation of the quality of services provided. Accredited organizations will often see increased efficiencies from improved practice consistency, tightened administrative practices, and an increased emphasis on risk management. Because of accreditation requirements, organizations will inevitably have a broader view and a more detailed approach to risk mitigation and risk management than they’re doing on their own.
For an investor looking to acquire a service provider, seeing that a facility is accredited can provide peace of mind. Accreditation indicates that an organization has gone through the work to create a strategic plan, comply with legal and regulatory requirements, and has implemented quality monitoring practices. All of which assist with due diligence, both on the administrative and clinical sides. Investors can also be assured that the facility’s finances are well managed, as accreditation speaks to sound financial management practices. There are even a number of reports that say accreditation reduces staff turnover, which can save an organization money and maintain a high-quality workforce.
Another part of due diligence is examination of litigation and claims history of an organization. Have there been any lawsuits filed or any pending? What is the frequency and severity of claims? Are there identifiable patterns and trends? What steps were taken to reduce the chance of reoccurrence? Accreditation supports this type of investigation by helping to maintain a positive history by proactive identification of risk and finding ways to mitigate or eliminate it where possible. Secondly, it encourages a performance improvement process that requires collection and analysis of key data and then taking action for improvement. Additionally, accreditation promotes a safe and healthy physical environment with requirements for emergency and disaster planning.
If your organization is going through a merger or considering accreditation, you are not alone! Accreditation Guru operates nationwide and provides a number of services to guide you through the process, such as:
- Individual accreditation consultation
- Mock surveys
- Development of accreditation-compliant plans and policies
- Risk assessment
- Strategic planning facilitation
- And more…
For more information or questions about the contents of this article, please write Peggy Lavin @ firstname.lastname@example.org. This post contains original content and was written for Accreditation Guru, Inc. Use of this copy is permitted with credit and reference within the same body of copy to Accreditation Guru, Inc.
Your agency has put a tremendous amount of effort and resources into earning national accreditation – so now what? It is time to promote your accredited status and get the most from your investment by using your accreditation as a marketing tool. After all, sharing your success will only increase the value of your hard-earned accreditation.
Accreditation is a process by which an educational or training program is evaluated by an independent accrediting body to determine if it meets certain standards of quality and rigor. Accreditation can be an important factor in the success of continuing education and training (CE/T) programs, both for the program itself and for the students (learners) who participate in it. In this article, we will explore the benefits of accreditation for continuing education and training programs, including its impact on employability, reputation, and competitiveness.
Employability of Graduates in a Variety of Job Markets
One of the primary benefits of accreditation for continuing education and training programs is its impact on the employability of graduates in a variety of job markets. Employers have increased trust in the competency of graduates from accredited programs, which can give these individuals an edge when applying for jobs. For example, in the healthcare field, accredited nursing programs are often preferred by employers because they demonstrate that graduates have received the necessary training to provide high-quality patient care. Similarly, in the technology industry, graduates of accredited computer science programs are seen as having the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the field.
Competitive Advantage for the Training Program
Accreditation can also help a continuing education or training program stand out from the competition and develop a reputation for excellence. Accreditation can be a useful marketing tool for attracting new students and demonstrating the quality of the program. For example, a training program that is accredited by a respected agency may be more likely to attract students than a program that is not accredited. Additionally, accreditation can help a program differentiate itself from other programs in the same field, which can be particularly important in industries where competition for students is high.
Strategic Edge for the Employer
Accreditation can also give employers a competitive edge by demonstrating that their employees have received high-quality training. When employers hire graduates of accredited programs, they can be confident that these employees have the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in their roles. Additionally, accreditation can demonstrate that the employer is committed to providing high-quality training for their employees, which can be an important factor in attracting and retaining top talent. For example, a hospital that hires nurses from accredited programs may be seen as providing better patient care than hospitals that do not require accreditation.
Distinctive Advantage for the Student
Finally, accreditation can increase the value of a student’s training and qualifications, which can lead to higher salaries and better benefits. When learners complete an accredited program, they can be confident that they have received training that meets quality educational practices. This can make them more attractive to employers and increase their earning potential. For example, graduates of accredited engineering programs often command higher salaries than graduates of non-accredited programs. Additionally, some employers offer higher salaries and better benefits to employees who have received training from accredited programs, which can further enhance the value of accreditation for students.
Accreditation is an important factor in the success of continuing education and training programs, both for the program itself and for the students who participate in it. Accreditation can enhance the employability of graduates, give programs a competitive edge, and increase the value of students’ training and qualifications. As such, it is important for students to seek out accredited programs when considering their educational or training options. Additionally, training programs should strive to achieve accreditation to demonstrate their commitment to providing high-quality training and attract students and employers who value this level of standards of excellence.
If you have a continuing education or training program that could benefit from earning national accreditation, please contact us to discuss your unique needs and timeline.
***Note, the benefits discussed here are applicable to a wide variety of CE/T subject matters. They are also applicable whether the CE/T organization is accredited by IACET, ACCET, or those accrediting organizations recognized by the Council for Higher Education (CHEA) for institutions of higher education.
Selecting a national accrediting body to work with is a significant undertaking. The commitment goes beyond the initial accreditation cycle and, in most cases, it continues for many more years, sometimes even decades. Because of the investment in time, money and effort involved, the selection process should not be taken lightly. Watch our video for tips on determining which accrediting body is the right fit for your organization.
While a strategic plan is the long-term framework for what is to come, an annual plan – or work plan – is staff-driven, designed with specific objectives, outcome measures, and areas of responsibility (including timelines) in order to provide the day-to-day guidelines needed to ensure the strategic goals are ultimately met.
Ringing in the New Year brings about a mindset of reflectiveness and a desire for transformation. As the calendar changes over, people are given the chance for a fresh start and are once again motivated to push themselves towards goals that had been previously set aside. These objectives are often personal, but what if you want to improve more than just yourself? What if, in 2023, you want to see the whole of your organization grow and flourish in a way that benefits both your employees and your clients? In that case, there’s no better time to start pursuing accreditation!
Accreditation goes beyond simple certification: it ensures that an institution adheres to nationally recognized standards centered on safety and quality care. Individuals seeking out treatment for themselves, or for a loved one, know that an accredited facility will have commitment to higher standards and monitor their operations on a regular basis, which provides a sense of security for everyone involved. Beyond this, accreditation will improve the environment of the organization as a whole by streamlining procedures and implementing easily-followed structures for staff and leadership
Some benefits of accreditation include…
- Improves quality outcomes
- Internal standardization of processes
- External validation of the quality of programs and services
- Increased efficiencies from improved practice consistency
- Tightens administrative practices
- Focus on staff recruitment, training, supervision, and retention
- Increased emphasis on risk management
- Improves credibility and boosts reputation
- Improved competencies of supervisors and staff
- Increased revenue
With the new year comes an opportunity for new focus, and whether you’ve been considering accreditation for a while or it’s only just come to mind, 2023 is the perfect year to get started. Even if you’re already accredited, time needs to be devoted to proactively maintaining your accredited status. Taking a moment to review your policies in preparation for your next survey can ensure it will be a smooth and seamless process, and perhaps it’s time to consider if your current accrediting body is still the right fit for your organization.
If you’d like to learn more about how Accreditation Guru can help make your life easier when it comes to preparing for (re)accreditation or maintaining your accredited status, feel free to contact us or schedule a 30-minute Zoom call with one of our experts.
For more information or questions about the contents of this article, please write or call Jennifer Flowers @ Jennifer@AccreditationGuru.com/212.209.0240. This post contains original content and was written for Accreditation Guru, Inc. Use of this copy is permitted with credit and reference within the same body of copy to Accreditation Guru, Inc.