Accreditation is a valuable achievement for behavioral health and substance abuse treatment organizations. It can improve your operations and treatment delivery, reduce risk, and demonstrate your value to your community.
Having a solid foundation before you even start the accreditation process will help your organization or facility complete it successfully. Here are three things you need first before pursuing accreditation.
- Your own accreditation plan
When you pursue accreditation with an organization like CARF or the Joint Commission, their processes and standards will dictate much of your decision-making. However, that does not mean your organization should not or cannot have its own accreditation plan!
- Understand what your organization hopes to achieve from accreditation.
- Choose the right accrediting body and become familiar with their particular accreditation steps. Each organization has its own unique standards, timelines, rules, and fees.
- Decide whether you have specific services accredited, or your entire organization.
- Inform your staff of the accreditation process, its purpose, and team members’ roles in the process, if any.
- Make sure your chosen accreditation satisfies any legal or third-party requirements that apply to your organization.
Establishing your own accreditation strategy will help keep your organization focused and on track, and get your staff engaged.
- Accreditation budget
Like all good things, accreditation isn’t free. When you decide to pursue accreditation, it is important to consider all potential costs to your organization. Be sure to take all costs into account, including:
- Accreditation fees, including application fees and survey fees
- Annual fees, if applicable
- Costs of software or other tools you may implement to meet accreditation standards
- Fees for accreditation consultation, if applicable
- Time costs to your staff and organization; for example, you may pay support staff overtime to help get paperwork in order
Each accrediting body calculates its fees differently, and may have different payment schedules. When you know which accreditation you want to achieve, be sure you understand that accrediting body’s particular fee requirements so you can budget appropriately.
- An established EHR solution
Behavioral health organizations have been slower to adopt digital health solutions, and this can be a big hindrance when pursuing accreditation. Implementing an EHR system can help your facility prepare for the accreditation process and meet many standards.
Most of all, a robust EHR solution helps you capture the clinical documentation that behavioral health accrediting bodies require. This includes screenings, process notes, and treatment plans. Clinical documentation helps demonstrate medical necessity and justify the level of care your organization provides to a client. It also includes organizational elements, such as a code of conduct, staff training, and a complaint form for clients.
An EHR system can help your organization not only record and maintain large amounts of data, such as demographic information, diagnosis, medications, and lab tests. It can also help you aggregate data and measure outcomes, and track trends in your facility over time.
Recording, keeping, and tracking the large amount of data required for accreditation can be time-consuming and frustrating. If your organization has not yet migrated to an EHR, consider doing so before pursuing accreditation.
Accreditation can be a lengthy, intimidating process, but you don’t have to go it alone! BestNotes EHR was built specifically for behavioral health and addiction treatment providers, and automatically updates to the latest Joint Commission and CARF requirements. Contact BestNotes today to learn more about how we can help you follow accreditation standards!