Accreditation: Select an accreditor carefully

Q. How do I begin the accreditation process?
Monday, November 26, 2012

A. While CMS’s accreditation requirement is firmly in place, many new providers are unsure of the process to become accredited. Some providers, based on their credentials, may be exempt from the accreditation requirement but complete the process and spend money that they do not need to spend because they don’t know this. 

For those that are already accredited, it may be time to renew, but between audits and the looming threat of competitive bidding, most providers don’t have time to properly map out a business strategy, choose which product categories to supply or research the various requirements imposed by each of the accreditation organizations. 

Most of us assume that each accreditation organization is created equally, interprets CMS’s ever-changing regulations the same way, and imposes the same provisions and regulations. This is not always the case. It is important to understand the specialties of each organization as it relates to each provider’s needs and service areas before deciding to work with one organization over another. Don’t let anyone persuade you into thinking that just one accreditation organization is “the best.” 

There are many different questions that you will need to ask before applying to an accreditation organization: Where can I buy an affordable policy and procedure manual? How do I prepare for an inspection? What forms should I use for my files to be complete? 

To help, you may want to hire a consultant. There are a lot of things to consider when you hire a consultant. You want someone with industry experience and knowledge that can help you choose the best accreditation organization based on your needs.

Roni Pidcock is vice president of Quality Healthcare Systems. She can be reached at 855.747.5555 or