What Does Accreditation Mean for My Care?

What Does Accreditation Mean for My Care?

Health care consumers (and that's all of us) should feel empowered to ask questions, not only about a physician's personal credentials and training, but also about the practice as a whole.

If you see the AAAHC Certificate of Accreditation, you can be confident that some of your questions are already answered. 

What is AAAHC?

AAAHC, or the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, Inc., is a private, non-profit organization formed in 1979 to assist ambulatory health care organizations in improving the quality of care provided to patients. We do this by establishing, reviewing, and revising Standards, measuring performance, and providing consultation and education.

What is accreditation? 

Accreditation is an external, independent review of a health care delivery organization against nationally-accepted standards and its own policies, procedures, processes and outcomes. In other words: Is the organization delivering safe, high-quality patient care in the way that it says it will?

AAAHC accreditation means that the organization participates in on-going self evaluation, peer review and education to continuously improve its care and services. The organization also commits to a thorough, on-site survey by AAAHC surveyors, who are themselves health care professionals, at least every three years.

Below are some examples of what AAAHC looks for when surveying an organization.

Note: Organizations considering accreditation should obtain a copy of the appropirate Accreditation Handbook for a conprehensive list of Standards.

Patient Rights

  • Are patients treated with respect, consideration and dignity?
  • Are patients provided with complete information concerning their diagnosis, evaluation, treatment and prognosis, and given the opportunity to participate in decisions involving their care?
  • Are patients given information about their rights and responsibilities, about services available to them, about provisions for after-hours and emergency care, and about fees, payment policies and credentialing of health care professionals?


  • Is there a process for identifying, analyzing, reporting, and preparing an action plan for adverse incidents?
  • Does the organization have an appropriate procedure to confirm the qualifications of individuals who provide health care services?
  • Does the organization have an appropriate procedure for determining the types of procedures an individual health care professional may provide based on his/her training, experience, and licensing?


  • Does the organizations maintain an appropriate and secure health information system?
  • Are there appropriate personnel policies?
  • Does the organization conduct regular patient satisfaction surveys?

Quality of Care Provided

  • Do patients receive timely contact about problems and/or abnormal lab findings?
  • Are there mechanisms in place to ensure the transfer of patients when appropriate?

Quality Management and Improvement

  • Does the organization have procedures in place for reviewing its quality of care?
  • Does the organization participate in an ongoing quality improvement program?
  • Does the organization have a risk management program designed to protect the life and welfare of both its patients and employees?

Clinical Records and Health Information

  • Is there an organized and secure system for collecting, processing, maintaining, and storing patient records?
  • Are the presence or absence of allergies and untoward reactions to drugs and other materials consistently confirmed and recorded in patient charts?
  • Are patient records transferred to the new health care professional when a patient is transferred?

Infection Prevention and Control

  • Does the organization adhere to nationally-recognized infection control guidelines?
  • Is the organization maintaining a functional and sanitary environment for the provision of services?
  • Does the organization document its infection control and safety programs?

Professional Improvement

  • Does the organization encourage employee participation in seminars, workshops, and other educational activities that are relevant to its missions and objectives?
  • Does the organization continuously monitor the maintenance of licensure and/or certification of its professional personnel?

Facilities and Environment

  • Does the organization comply with all state and local building codes and regulations?
  • Does the organization have the necessary personnel, equipment, and procedures to handle medical and other emergencies that may arise?
  • Is the space allotted for a particular function or service adequate for that function?

Anesthesia Services

  • Are the anesthesia services provided by the organization adequately supervised by a qualified physician or dentist?
  • Does the organization receive the informed consent of the patient for the planned anesthesia?
  • Does the organization have the appropriate resuscitative equipment for patients receiving anesthesia?

Surgical and Related Services

  • Are the procedures performed in the facility limited to those approved by the governing body?
  • Are surgical procedures performed by health care professionals who are licensed to perform them and have been granted privileges by the governing body?
  • Does the organization have a safe environment for treating surgical patients, including adequate safeguards to protect them from cross-infection?

Is my provider's organization AAAHC-accredited?

A list of AAAHC-accredited facilities can be found on this web site by clicking here. If you don't see your organization listed, ask them about their accreditation status. They may be accredited by another organization or they may have chosen not to undergo any accreditation process.

To provide feedback about an accredited organization, click here.