This has been a very busy year for Advanced Body Sculpting of New England. Dr. Mark X. Lowney and staff have successfully completed the comprehensive review process and site visit and have received the full accreditation of our office-based surgery center. There is no higher accreditation a surgery center can have and this is the gold standard for accreditation. To obtain this certification our office is required to have special emergency equipment, medications, and other equipment that many offices and surgery centers do not have. This is not a self-serving accreditation process that only certifies one’s own specialty, but one that accredits a diverse group of health care facilities including:
For almost four decades, accreditation has been the highest form of public recognition a health care organization could receive for the quality of care it provides. The concept started with hospitals, but now, thanks to the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, nearly all types of ambulatory health care providers can achieve this distinction.
Accreditation offers many more benefits to an ambulatory health care organization than public recognition alone. Accreditation can actually enhance a center’s strategic management decision process. Those who have achieved accreditation tell us it helps them:
But most important, they tell us it helps them deliver their ultimate bottom line: High quality patient care.
Accreditation is a voluntary process involving several steps. Once an ambulatory health care facility’s application is accepted, it conducts its own self-assessment using AAAHC guidelines and standards. The next step is an on-site survey conducted by a highly trained AAAHC survey team experienced in both the clinical and administrative aspects of ambulatory health care.
When they have completed their survey, the team makes an accreditation recommendation which is reviewed by AAAHC’s Accreditation Committee, who makes the final decision. Accreditation may be awarded for six months, one year, or three years. The accreditation decision could be deferred or denied as well.
The certificate of accreditation is the most visible result of the process. The ultimate value of the accreditation, however, lies in the ongoing self-analysis, peer review, and consultation the center gains as it continues its participation in the program.
The Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) was incorporated in 1979 as a non-profit 501 (c) 3 in the State of Illinois, but its history spans more than 25 years of independent and cooperative efforts by many national organizations, all dedicated to high quality ambulatory health care.
The AAAHC is a leader in ambulatory health care accreditation and serves as an advocate for the provision and documentation of high quality health services in ambulatory health care organizations. This is accomplished through the development of standards and through its survey and accreditation programs.
As the original multidiscipline accreditation organization to focus exclusively on ambulatory health care, the founders of AAAHC were both visionary and pioneering. The AAAHC simultaneously recognized and embraced ambulatory care and challenged this newly emerging modality to meet rigorous standards for self-improved and credibility.
The AAAHC Accreditation Handbook is revised on an annual basis. The revisions of its nationally recognized standards reflect the experience, knowledge, and wisdom gained over the years by AAAHC surveyors, staff, and accredited organization to ensure their continued relevance. They are revised when necessary to maintain value and to reflect the rapid changes in health care, all while remaining grounded in our fundamental commitment to high quality health care.
AAAHC is dedicated to educating providers in quality assurance and accreditation standards and procedures. In addition to providing education programs and presentations at major ambulatory health care meetings each year, AAAHC implements its own full-length educational sessions several times throughout the year.
Although change is an inherent part of its philosophy, AAAHC’s basic principles remain firmly intact. AAAHC intends to continue its tradition of using physicians, administrators, and other health care professionals who are actively involved in ambulatory health care to conduct its accreditation surveys.
Since its founding, AAAHC has conducted hundreds of accreditation surveys of all types of ambulatory care organizations including ambulatory surgical facilities, college and university health centers, single and multispecialty group practices, and health networks. Over 1600 organizations nationwide are currently accredited by the AAAHC.
The core standards developed and used by the AAAHC during its accreditation process include: Rights of patients, Governance, Administration, Quality of Care, Quality Management & Improvement, Clinical Records and Health Information, Professional Improvement, and Facilities & Environment. As the lead standard of the AAAHC’s Accreditation Handbook of Standards, the Rights of Patients standards set the tone for all remaining standards. This standard underscores the very essence of the accreditation process which is to determine that health care organizations are positively addressing essential elements to ensure the rights of patients and to provide the highest level of care possible. Throughout the AAAHC standards, issues relating to aspects of quality assurance, quality measurement and patient rights are addressed.