As competition for funding, staffing and resources grows at a breakneck pace, providers find it difficult to prioritize their efforts in a manner that effectively impacts their care and efficiently uses the minimal resources they have.

While accreditation may be the last thing providers want to consider, it may be one of the most strategic and valuable endeavors providers can achieve to effectively improve their outcomes and enhance their financial outlook.

The Spotlight is Bigger, The Demand is Greater

Since the pandemic, aging care providers have seen a progressive shift in the focus and demand for customized care. Not only are people living longer but these and other circumstances have presented new challenges, including:

  • ability to serve individuals with higher acuity needs,
  • variations in state regulations and oversight,
  • increased competition within the industry, and
  • greater scrutiny by residents, caregivers, regulators, payers, and healthcare partners.

Providers Need Guidance to Match Today’s Complex Care Needs

This shift has highlighted the need for assessing and standardizing practices around all levels of care for patients and residents living in nursing homes and assisted living settings.

Joint Commission accreditation addresses the functions and processes necessary to deliver high-quality care, such as:

  • infection prevention,
  • patient and resident rights,
  • medication errors,
  • hand-off communications, and
  • health care acquired infections.

And unlike punitive CMS certification inspections, the Joint Commission provides guidance through collaboration, feedback, and coaching to drive ongoing improvement over time and across all sites and services.

The Joint Commission Difference

Among CMS certified organizations, those that were also Joint Commission accredited excel. A JAMDA study1 revealed Joint Commission-accredited organizations outperformed their non-accredited counterparts on all five short-stay measures, key long-stay measures, and the four areas tied to the star rating: health inspections, quality measures, staffing, and RN staffing.

Beyond CMS certification, a 2021 study2 found, when compared to Joint Commission accredited organizations, non-accredited nursing homes had significantly more variability in COVID-19 case rates and a larger proportion of non-accredited nursing homes had higher than expected COVID-19 case rates.

It’s About Your Residents: Give Them What They Want

When it comes to choosing an extended care facility, accreditation can play an important role in the decision-making process. Research3 indicates that potential assisted living community residents and their caregivers are more likely to visit and tour a facility that is Joint Commission accredited.

Inspire Your Staff

Today’s employees are mission driven. While salary is important, quality residential care is a top priority and staff are dedicated to organizations that advance the care of their residents. Having the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® demonstrates your commitment to providing optimal client care. Our program also gives you the framework to establish and verify staff qualifications, provide training, and evaluate staff competency. Finally, job satisfaction is critical to staff retention. The Joint Commission helps organizations develop strong business policies and processes to provide safe, collaborative care whether across shifts, departments, or settings.

Finding New Revenue Streams

Accreditation can facilitate partnerships with organizations that share your commitment to high-quality through referrals, contractual relationships, and more. Also, new value-based incentive programs continue to emerge that reward quality efforts, including accreditation. Used as an indicator of quality by states and third-party payors, Joint Commission accreditation can lead to greater reimbursement, ability to participate in networks, bonus points on value “scorecards,” and more.

“It has improved our regulatory survey preparedness. Compared to other surveys, the Joint Commission is far more collaborative. You understand why you’re putting processes in place rather than merely meeting a standard.”
Lori Pearson
Vice President of Clinical Excellence
Consulate Management Company

Profitability in Cost Savings

The accreditation framework helps organizations overcome operational inefficiencies. Joint Commission accreditation can be used in lieu of state licensure surveys to reduce the burden of additional inspections. It can also prevent inadvertent harmful events before they become costly problems. Research1 has shown that Joint Commission accredited nursing homes saved an average of $5,480 in CMS certification fines compared to their non-accredited counterparts.

Rise Above with Distinction in Quality

Accreditation can enhance your credibility and set you apart from your competitors. To enhance your marketing, the Joint Commission offers free publicity assistance including suggestions for celebrating your accreditation, sample news releases, and downloadable The Gold Seal of Approval® artwork.

Showcase Care Specialties with Post-Acute and Memory Care Certifications

To help you promote unique programs that meet the distinct needs of your community, the Joint Commission offers Post-Acute Care Certification and Memory Care Certification. To address the growing need for dementia care, the Joint Commission is collaborating with the Alzheimer’s Association to enhance its Memory Care Certification requirements as well as to provide future education programs and presentations. The initial program re-launch will take place July 2022.

Accreditation on Your Terms

Joint Commission offers you flexibility and a process that’s built to fit your needs. Access to the application is available 24/7 with the option to designate blackout dates. And the requirements, while comprehensive, are not prescriptive so you can meet the intent of the standard based on your goals, resources, and capabilities. The Joint Commission also offers tailored survey options to streamline the application and survey process. Whether offering specialized services within your nursing home (memory care, post-acute care) or delivering multiple disciplines across a larger network (assisted living, home care, behavioral care, etc.), we offer efficient survey options that cater to your unique needs and services.

You will have access to a range of professionals to help with the day-to-day accreditation activities, and we also offer a robust array of programs and resources vetted by industry experts to help you prepare and stay ready for accreditation.

To discover how Joint Commission accreditation and certification can elevate your organization’s performance, please contact us at 630-792-5020 or email ncc@jointcommission.org. You can also visit www.jointcommission.org/ncc

Gina Zimmermann is the executive director for business development for Nursing Care Center and Assisted Living Community Services at the Joint Commission. In this role, she oversees the strategic direction and performance of the Nursing Care Center Accreditation Program and Assisted Living Community Accreditation Program.

1 “Comparing Public Quality Ratings for Accredited and Non-accredited Nursing Homes”, JAMDA 18 (2017) 24e29 D https://www.jointcommission.org/-/media/tjc/documents/accred-and-cert/ncc/jamda-pdf.pdf%20
2 “A Multistate Comparison Study of COVID-19 Cases Among Accredited and Nonaccredited Nursing Homes“, Policy, Politics, & Nursing Practice (2021) 1-6
3 Research commissioned by The Joint Commission and conducted by Directions Research, Inc., 2018