Accreditation Agencies: What They Are & What They Do

There are many accreditation agencies for long-term care facilities and services, but not all of them are created equal. Many charge the facilities and service providers a fee and require a self-evaluation form, but perform little to no follow-up. To the consumer, an accreditation based on such practices doesn't mean much. So if you're thinking about moving into a senior care facility or engaging other long-term care services, make sure you do your due diligence to find out what the accreditation procedures are. The agencies listed in this article conduct on-site survey visits, the bare minimum for being able to accurately grade a facility or service. Each agency has its own standards.

The Accreditation Commission for Home Care, Inc. (ACHC) is the only nonprofit organization listed below. As a nonprofit, they're able to keep their costs for accreditation significantly lower than the other agencies. Earning an accreditation from a reputable agency is a good quality indicator, but keep in mind that accreditation costs can be prohibitive for some facilities and service providers, so it's not the only factor to consider.

Accreditation Commission for Home Care, Inc. (ACHC)

  • Accredits home health care agencies
  • Ensures that agencies follows better business practices
  • Ensures staff receives annual continuing education and undergoes health screening
  • Interviews staff and employees from all sectors
  • Does not conduct home visits

Continuing Care Accreditation Commission (CCAC)

  • Accredits senior care facilities
  • Is affiliated with CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities)
  • The facility is given several months to prepare before the surveyor visit
  • One or more surveyors review the facility, depending on the facility's size

Community Health Accreditation Program (CHAP)

  • Conducts both site and home visits for homecare businesses
  • Ensures that business viability and marketing strategy are in good standing

Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO)

  • Has a respected reputation in the health care industry for its high standards in grading long-term care facilities, service providers and hospitals
  • Reviews homecare agencies and skilled nursing facilities.
  • No longer reviews assisted living facilities
  • Conducts surprise visits