Home Health Care Accreditation Important for Medicare Recipients

Many individuals receiving Medicare benefits rely on home health care as one of the main benefits they receive. Home Health Care for these individuals – usually seniors or individuals with disabilities – is their lifeline and an essential link in their services and well-being.

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has once again recognized the Joint Commission’s deeming authority for accrediting Home Health Care.

This is important to beneficiaries because more than 2.4 elderly individuals and individuals with disabilities receive Home Health Care services. In order to be able to provide such services, agencies need to be accredited and “deemed” as meeting Medicare and Medicaid requirements and standards. When a Home Health Care agency has “deemed status” by the Joint Commission, research shows that the particular agency usually exceeds the standards set out for Home Health Care Providers by CMS, providing a higher level of service.

Because more and more individuals and patients are trying to get treatment as outpatients and stay in their homes rather than hospitals, the partnership between the public CMS and private Joint Commission has become essential in helping to set the highest standards, therefore encouraging and ensuring the highest quality services.

The Joint Commission, which started granting deeming authority in 1993, accredits over 3,800 organizations. Accreditation is voluntary, and Home Health Care Agencies can seek deemed status by the Joint Commission, but it is not a requirement. They can also seek accreditation by state surveyors on behalf of CMS.

The Joint Commission works to continuously improve the quality of services to the public. It evaluates and accredits over 15,000 health care programs in the country, including hospitals, home care organizations, assisted living, ambulatory care services and laboratories. It also accredits organizations dealing with specific health issues, such as stroke centers, and it is a non-profit organization.

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