Joint Commission to accredit rural health clinics

 Joint Commission to accredit rural health clinics

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Rural health clinics seeking Medicare reimbursement can now do so via a new accreditation program from the Joint Commission.

The Joint Commission was granted the authority by CMS this week.

The Joint Commission’s new Rural Health Clinic Accreditation Program has received initial deeming authority from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The goal is to improve the safety and quality of primary care and personal health services in underserved, rural communities.

Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission’s goal is to continuously improve healthcare for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating healthcare organizations and pushing them to excel in providing safe and effective care.


The Rural Health Clinic Accreditation Program, available this summer, provides a framework to help rural health clinics standardize how care is delivered. The accreditation program is focused on reducing variation and risk to improve patient outcomes.

Rural health clinics that seek Medicare reimbursement have to be accredited by an accrediting organization with deeming authority. Rural health clinics eligible for the new accreditation program must meet all state and federal requirements, including location, staffing and healthcare services requirements.

Additionally, rural health clinics are required to meet The Joint Commission’s standards based on CMS Conditions for Certification (CfCs) for rural health clinics, with additional specific requirements deemed critical to patient safety and quality.

The standards focus on key operational areas such as emergency preparedness; health information management; infection control; medical error mitigation; medication management; patient assessment and care; patient rights; performance improvement; and staff competency.


The Joint Commission accredits and certifies more than 22,000 healthcare organizations and programs in the U.S.

An independent, nonprofit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in healthcare, according to its website.

Jeff Lagasse is editor of Healthcare Finance News.
Healthcare Finance News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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