What It Means to Be JCAHO Accredited

by | May 10, 2016 | Treatment | 0 comments

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The JCAHO seal of approval is what tells treatment centers such as Amethyst that we are safe to continue running our operations as they are. (argus/Shutterstock)

The JCAHO seal of approval is what tells treatment centers such as Amethyst that we are safe to continue running our operations as they are. (argus/Shutterstock)

With so many treatment centers out there promising quality care, addicts and alcoholics in need of help may sometimes have a bit of difficulty making the right choice. There are a lot of fears that may influence the decision, from the fear of encountering scam artists with no real desire to help or the fear of corruption among some Florida treatment facilities. Fortunately, there is one trusty method of choosing a quality treatment center that almost never fails: just inquire about their JCAHO accreditation.

For those who are not aware, JCAHO is the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. Since this sounds rather official, we should explain that the JCAHO is not an official regulatory organization in the United States. As such, they have certain limitations. For instance, they cannot enforce the law when treatment centers are discovered to be guilty of illegal malpractice. What they can do, however, is uphold standards of quality and ethics in the private medical sector. This has become an important aspect of private medicine, as JCAHO accreditation has become practically synonymous with quality care.

Amethyst Recovery takes pride in being accredited by the JCAHO, and we believe that prospective patients and their families should understand what this means. As such, we intend to provide a decent outline of JCAHO accreditation requirements below. We will also talk a little bit about the risks of attending a treatment center that has not been accredited before explaining precisely what you can expect from an accredited treatment center such as Amethyst. We know that choosing a treatment center can be difficult, as it can decide the outcome of a person’s entire life. But we hope that the following information might make that choice a little easier.

Requirements for JCAHO Accreditation

The JCAHO actually sells entire handbooks that treatment centers must read in order to become familiar with the requirements for accreditation. (Bacho/Shutterstock)

The JCAHO actually sells entire handbooks that treatment centers must read in order to become familiar with the requirements for accreditation. (Bacho/Shutterstock)

First of all, it should be noted that JCAHO accreditation encompasses a number of categories. Treatment centers such as Amethyst fall under the guidelines for “behavioral health care accreditation.” As any other accredited facility under the rules of JCAHO, there are many implications here. The JCAHO website outlines the requisite standards as follows:

A trauma-informed, recovery/resilience-oriented philosophy and approach to care, treatment and services is embedded in the requirements.

Right off the bat, we see that accredited behavioral health centers must understand the influence of trauma in the patient’s life. There are potentially many ways in which a treatment center may embody this accreditation requirement, although we have found the offering of EMDR trauma therapy to be one of the most effective. This form of therapy caters to addicts in the military, as well as those who have been abused, have suffered near-fatal accidents while under the influence of illicit substances, or any number of other addicted individuals who have encountered hardships that the predominance of the general public might not understand. Learning how to overcome this trauma is one of the first steps in ensuring that patients receive the care they need in order to recover.

While accredited facilities must be trauma-informed, there is much more to it than that. The JCAHO will take a long, hard look at a facility and its staff to ensure that the center is qualified to deal with patients in need of help when it comes to revising certain behaviors such as alcoholism and drug addiction. Licensed health care professionals in related fields will conduct surveys to make sure that the facility is meeting all standard requirements while accounting for any potentially unique challenges posed by the area in which the center is located. It is a point of pride for the Joint Commission that their surveyors are experienced when it comes to working in a wide array of settings.

For a small treatment facility such as Amethyst, the on-site survey fee is around $3,020. This may not sound like much to some people, but you must remember that treatment centers such as Amethyst spend quite a bit on vital medications such as Narcan and Vivitrol. No treatment center will put out this fee (not to mention the annual fee of $1,820) if they are not absolutely dedicated to maintaining their accreditation. When considering this expenditure, JCAHO accreditation is not just an informal requirement—it is a sign of care, an indication that any accredited center must truly care for their patients’ sense of safety.

Why Unaccredited Facilities Are Risky

Patients should be wary of treatment centers whose accreditation has been denied. (argus/Shutterstock)

Patients should be wary of treatment centers whose accreditation has been denied. (argus/Shutterstock)

Since the JCAHO is not technically affiliated with the United States government, some prospective patients might not believe that accreditation is all that important. But if you fall under this description, you must ask yourself why so many health care facilities have bothered pursuing accreditation in the first place. The short answer is that we care about our reputation, not to mention the role that trust plays in ensuring a quality relationship between our patients and our treatment team.

While it is possible that facilities without JCAHO accreditation may also care, it cannot be denied that they have neglected to undertake this crucial step toward demonstrating their reliability. If a treatment center is not willing to put themselves under the scrutiny of an outside organization in order to assess their standards, then they have not done much to prove that their clients should find them trustworthy. This is why reliable treatment centers often submit themselves to examination by the JCAHO. They may not be a government organization, but their opinion regarding what constitutes quality care is highly respected by the medical community. Anyone who takes pride in their own standards should be willing to work with them.

As for the specific standards we have discussed above, they say a lot about treatment centers that do not qualify for accreditation. These are treatment centers that do not understand the role of trauma in alcoholism and addiction. And for whatever reason, the JCAHO has not decided that they have a quality, recovery-oriented philosophy embedded into their approach to treatment. But if treatment is not recovery-oriented, then what is it? The simple answer is that it is nothing. Treatment centers that do not qualify for JCAHO accreditation have made no achievements in their field, and prospective patients should be wary of them.

When it comes to addiction recovery, each patient’s care is a matter of life or death. Addicts and their families deserve nothing but the best. More than anything, they deserve reassurance that the patient’s recovery has been left in the hands of professionals who truly care. Below, we will talk about how you can find this level of care at a JCAHO accredited facility such as Amethyst Recovery.

Receiving Accredited Care at Amethyst

There is no shortage of treatment centers from which to choose. For accredited, recovery-driven care, it’s hard to go wrong with Amethyst. (Amethyst Recovery)

There is no shortage of treatment centers from which to choose. For accredited, recovery-driven care, it’s hard to go wrong with Amethyst. (Amethyst Recovery)

The fact that Amethyst Recovery has qualified for JCAHO accreditation means a couple of things. First of all, it means that we trusted our programs enough to put them up for inspection before a board of professionals who have set and maintained a high level of standards in the private medicine community for many years. Naturally, it also means that said professionals deemed our care worthy of accreditation. But more than that, it means that our patients are able to trust us when we say that seeking recovery at Amethyst is a safe choice for those who care about the future of their sobriety.

As defined by the JCAHO, this accreditation means that we understand the role of trauma in addiction and alcoholism and that we have ingrained a recovery-oriented philosophy into everything that we do here at Amethyst. This is something that we would naturally be inclined to tell you ourselves, but accreditation means that you do not have to simply take our word for it. We firmly believe that this helps us to establish a sense of trust between us and our patients, and we are extraordinarily grateful for this. Many addicts and alcoholics enter recovery with strong reservations against sobriety, and the ability to establish trust from the onset of treatment is absolutely invaluable to the cause of breaking through these reservations and initiating the healing process.

It is worth noting that, while the Joint Commission may not be a government organization, they are recognized by over 198 state authorities across the United States. Their standards of quality include requirements for licensure, as well as medical regulations set by the state. The JCAHO customizes their reviews for each treatment center, in part so that they can ensure this is the case. In other words, accreditation does not simply mean that we are playing ball with some meaningless organization. It is a sign that our care is legal, legitimate, and valuable.

If you feel that you or your loved one will be safer in the care of a treatment center with JCAHO accreditation, contact Amethyst Recovery today. We can answer any questions you may have about our services and help you to begin the process of enrolling yourself or your loved one in treatment. Addicts and alcoholics are like anybody else who struggles against a fatal disease. They need the absolute best care that can be provided, or their life may hang in the balance. You need a treatment center that does everything in its power to keep patients safe and sober. And at Amethyst Recovery, we endeavor to do just that.

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