Joint Commission Accreditation – Is It Really Needed?

Sarah Jones

The Joint Commission (TJC), a not-for-profit organization established in 1951, is a leading provider of accreditation to healthcare organizations. With over 22,000 certified healthcare organizations and programs in the U.S. and other countries, The Joint Commission’s reach spans various healthcare specialties, including disease-specific care, laboratory services, and nursing care.

A Closer Look at Joint Commission Accreditation

As one of the U.S.’s largest and oldest accrediting bodies, TJC’s accreditation is a highly respected symbol of quality widely accepted by payers and regulatory agencies as evidence of an organization’s commitment to high standards of care.

Organizations that attain The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval demonstrate dedication to patient safety and the quality of their services. They can provide a public source of quality validation through the Joint Commission’s Quality Check™.

The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal also signifies an organization’s commitment to meeting National Patient Safety Goals, underscoring their accountability for patient and resident outcomes. By seeking accreditation from TJC, healthcare organizations can effectively communicate to the public their commitment to excellence in patient care.


Get our best tips to navigate the accreditation process.

Overview of The Joint Commission Accreditation Process

TJC’s accreditation process helps identify and mitigate quality and patient safety risks. Organizations can improve their care, treatment, and services by conducting an honest assessment. The accreditation process seeks to inspire organizations to improve their performance and provide safe, high-quality care.

How Does the Scoring Process Work?

The Joint Commission accreditation process evaluates a healthcare organization’s commitment to patient safety and quality care. It involves an objective assessment of performance against standards set by TJC and an unannounced survey of the organization’s processes and functions.

Joint Commission Survey Process

Joint Commission surveys are unannounced, except for non-deemed initial surveys. During the survey, Joint Commission surveyors evaluate an organization’s performance, tracing patient care, reviewing documentation, and observing and interviewing staff and patients as appropriate.

Accreditation Decisions and Scoring

The accrediting body bases its decision on evaluating compliance with TJC standards and other requirements. The facility gets scored on specific performance expectations called performance elements. A preliminary Summary of Survey Findings Report comes first, and the final accreditation decision happens later.

Possible accreditation decisions include Limited Temporary Accreditation, Accreditation, Accreditation with Follow-up Survey, Preliminary Denial of Accreditation, and Denial of Accreditation.

Importance of Joint Commission Standards

TJC’s standards form the basis of the objective evaluation process that helps healthcare organizations assess, measure, and improve their performance. The standards set expectations for reasonable, achievable, and surveyable performance, focusing on essential processes and organizational functions.

Expectations of Accreditation

An organization’s accreditation cycle is continuous, and they should have an unannounced survey within 36 months of their last survey. Organizations must continue to meet all accreditation-related requirements to maintain their accreditation. Note: Due to the pandemic, the 36-month timeframe may be longer for some organizations.

Why Should Your Facility Seek Accreditation?

Empowering healthcare organizations to achieve excellence in patient safety and quality care — The Joint Commission leads the industry with its cutting-edge standards and unparalleled accreditation across the continuum of care, setting the bar for the highest performance and continuous improvement.

Improve Patient Safety and Care Delivery

TJC accreditation is a commitment to strive for continuous improvement and achieve excellence in patient safety and care delivery.

  • Aligning with Joint Commission standards defines each team member’s role and responsibilities to reduce the risk of patient harm.
  • On-site surveys provide professional advice and counsel to enhance staff knowledge and skills.
  • The Leading Practice Library offers customized solutions for challenging healthcare problems.
  • TJC provides tools to organize and strengthen patient safety efforts, leading to a reduction in compliance issues.

Increase Your Facility’s Bottom Line

Achieving Joint Commission accreditation demonstrates a commitment to delivering the highest standards of patient care, which can significantly impact a healthcare organization’s balance sheet.

  • Compliance with Joint Commission standards gains public trust and provides a competitive edge.
  • Accreditation establishes a consistent approach to care and reduces the risk of error or low-quality care.
  • Attracts (and retains) qualified talent who prefers working within an accredited organization.

Enhance Business Operations

Handling and improving daily business operations in healthcare organizations can be challenging. However, The Joint Commission offers a solution that makes this task manageable for TJC-accredited organizations. TJC provides a range of continuing support and education services tailored to the specific needs of each organization.

The team at TJC comes from various healthcare industries, ensuring a personalized and in-depth review. The Joint Commission conducts on-site surveys that help organizations maintain compliance with the latest standards and provide guidance on improving organizational structure, management, and overall performance.

Earn Recognition in the Field

Achieving Joint Commission accreditation is a testament to healthcare organizations’ exceptional quality of care and dedication to continuous improvement.

  • Accreditation earns public recognition and validates outstanding contributions and commitments to quality.
  • Accreditation can help organizations qualify for Medicare and Medicaid certification and exemption from regulatory requirements.
  • Recognized by insurers and other third parties, accreditation is a prerequisite for reimbursement and participation in managed care plans in some markets.

Consider TJC Accreditation With MedTrainer’s Help

The Joint Commission accreditation is crucial for facilities looking to stand out in a crowded marketplace, earn patients’ trust, and attract and retain high-quality medical staff. The process ensures that an organization follows industry standards and focuses on patient safety and transparency.

While getting accredited can be difficult and time-consuming, a comprehensive compliance solution can make it easier. Additionally, organizations can take advantage of MedTrainer’s resources and consider using online tools to track and show compliance. It all adds up to across-the-board improvements that benefit facilities, caregivers, and patients alike.