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Behavioral Health Accreditations

businessman holding a behavioral health accreditation certificate.

Behavioral health accreditations affirm to patients, partners, and donors that your organization meets a high bar for care standards. Accreditation is also one of many tools for behavioral health clinical directors to help them deliver outstanding results in their practice. Going through the accreditation process, you’ll identify organizational strengths and weaknesses and be able to plan for ongoing improvements.

What Is Behavioral Health Accreditation?

Accreditation is a review process by an outside agency that confirms your organization is meeting specific compliance standards for healthcare. These standards range from regulatory requirements in your area to safety metrics, staff qualifications, and cultural competency. When an addiction or mental health organization earns accreditation, it demonstrates a commitment to high-quality, evidence-based treatment for all patients.

Several national accreditation organizations are certified by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Each organization has a different process and may have slightly different requirements, but they all share a focus on established best practices in patient care.

Goals of Addiction and Mental Health Treatment Accreditations

Pursuing addiction and mental health treatment accreditation can help your practice meet goals in these areas and more:

  • Ensuring a safe environment
  • Protecting the privacy of client information
  • Providing appropriate training for staff members
  • Creating or improving a performance evaluation system
  • Minimizing liability and risk
  • Offering culturally competent services to a broad patient population
  • Creating a framework for ongoing quality improvement
  • Implementing organizational initiatives
  • Delivering cost-effective care
  • Using robust financial management systems

Additionally, some providers offer accreditation in value-based care, where providers are reimbursed based on patients’ treatment outcomes. This accreditation helps ensure you have the best measurement tools possible to assess patient progress, plan effective treatment strategies, and deliver maximum value.

Which Organizations Can Apply for Accreditation?

Every addiction and mental health treatment provider has different eligibility standards. However, eligible organizations cover a wide range of behavioral health services, including:

  • Small nonprofits or boards that serve only one or a few individuals
  • Services for people experiencing homelessness
  • Services for aging populations
  • Child, youth, and family services
  • Organizations providing medication-assisted treatment for addiction
  • Residential, inpatient, or outpatient programs
  • Organizations providing employment referrals or other social services

The Behavioral Health Accreditation Process

With most accreditation organizations, you’ll begin by submitting an application or self-evaluation detailing your programs and services. The self-evaluation also allows you to submit documents and narratives demonstrating your compliance with state and federal standards and showcasing your quality of care.

Next, surveyors or peer reviewers from the accreditation organization will complete an on-site survey. They may interview staff members and clients your practice serves, observe your team at work, evaluate the site’s physical safety, and travel to different sites if your organization has multiple sites.

Once the site visit is complete, the organization will send you a summary of their findings, and they may request more information. Then they’ll complete a final review. The review will indicate where your practice excels, where it meets, exceeds, or fails to meet standards, and where it could improve.

If you’re approved for accreditation, you’ll maintain your accredited status for a certain number of years, after which you can reapply. During this time, most organizations require you to check in annually with a report that shows you’re keeping up high standards.

How Accreditation Can Benefit Your Practice

Addiction and mental health treatment accreditations have multiple benefits for your organization, including:

  • Inspiring consumer trust and improving your referral rate
  • Assuring clients you have the same high healthcare standards at each location if your organization has multiple locations
  • Managing risk and preventing fraud
  • Giving you a competitive edge over similar providers
  • Maintaining consistent practices and policies for all staff
  • Demonstrating commitment to ongoing improvement

Another perk of accreditation, especially for public agencies, is that it can increase your access to funding and justify budget requests. Accreditation is an easy way to demonstrate your value to the community, so you’re more likely to get community support.

To Reach High Standards, Partner With Sunwave Health

You’re committed to delivering excellent behavioral healthcare, and the right software and data management will help you deliver on this commitment. Our behavioral health software platform manages the entire process of a patient’s healthcare journey, from their referral and admission to their treatment outcomes. If you apply for accreditation, you’ll be able to submit the required data and track your improvement progress much more easily. We’ve designed the platforms specifically for behavioral health provider needs. Learn more by contacting us online.