Accreditation can unlock the door to improved patient care, a consistently high quality level, and greater network access by meeting the requirements of many private payors. An important early step is choosing your accreditation organization wisely.
Successful accreditation of your sleep center is an attestation and recognition by a professional peer that your services meet or exceed standardized clinical guidelines and clinical practice parameters. Accreditation demonstrates you are operating your sleep facility in compliance with the highest standards of excellence and effective patient care.
When making the decision to proceed with accreditation, providers should research their options as they relate to selecting the right accreditation organization (AO). While this effort can be time-consuming, it is definitely time well spent.
The following are suggestions for providers to consider when comparing AOs.
1. Review each AO’s accreditation application and standards to assess what is required of your organization when submitting an application and preparing for the on-site survey.
2. Carefully examine the intent of the standards to ensure they support the integration of the sleep specialist, the patient, and the referring physician as a collaborative patient care team that can effectively manage the patient’s clinical condition.
3. Compare the cost to submit the application. What is the applicant fee, the cost for each branch facility, and the corporate location? Is there a discounted fee for branch facilities that function under the corporate program with a single leadership structure? What are the costs for personnel needed to complete accreditation? Compare the total cost over the complete accreditation cycle (however long that may be), including any additional costs such as membership fees or fees to post the awarded accreditation on a website.
4. Identify the professional support the AO will provide to assist with clarifying questions and submitting the application.
5. Examine the performance improvement requirements to ensure the standards are designed to identify, measure, and improve your services.
6. Evaluate the ease of submitting the application for review. What data is required to be submitted with the application prior to its acceptance?
As a provider considering accreditation, it is important to keep in mind that while the process may appear overwhelming, it can be achieved with committed effort and professional guidance.
Timothy Safley is director of DME, pharmacy, and sleep at Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC) (www.achc.org). ACHC encourages all sleep providers to become accredited and employs a consultative approach to its surveys, helping providers achieve compliance while facilitating a higher quality of patient care. Safley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.