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Article updated: 1/8/2013 10:29 AM

Joint Commission debuts nursing and rehabilitation center accreditation

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OAKBROOK TERRACE -- The Joint Commission announced its new Nursing and Rehabilitation Center Accreditation program, and for the first time is offering a Rehabilitation and Advanced Care Certification option.

The Nursing and Rehabilitation Center Accreditation program, which replaces the Long Term Care Accreditation program, is designed to help providers achieve, maintain and demonstrate excellence in the services they provide. Both the accreditation program and certification option are the products of a yearlong reinvention project which gathered input from consumers, providers, payers and other stakeholders.

The reinvented standards, survey process and certification option will be effective July 1.

"Studies show that long term care organizations are providing more complex care to their patients and residents than in the past, and they are seeking ways to meet increasing demands for quality oversight. The Joint Commission's Nursing and Rehabilitation Center Accreditation program uses a patient- and resident-centered quality framework and collaborative evaluation services to help them meet these demands," says Gina Zimmermann, M.S., executive director of Nursing and Rehabilitation Center Accreditation for The Joint Commission. "The program will help nursing facility leaders proactively identify vulnerabilities to safeguard patients and residents. It can also help them to minimize the risk of readmissions from nursing homes to hospitals and other care providers."

The certification option recognizes the more advanced rehabilitation services provided to patients in nursing and rehabilitation centers, while continuing to elevate the quality of care provided to all those served within their organization. The certification is separate from The Joint Commission's Disease Specific Care certification program. Unlike the DSC program, the review is conducted at the same time as the accreditation survey using the same surveyors, and has a three-year cycle.

Prepublication standards for the accreditation and certification options are available on The Joint Commission's website at www.jointcommission.org/standards--information/prepublication -- standards. aspx. Beginning in February, educational webinars and teleconferences will be provided to give customers an overview of program enhancements. Programming will also be provided for individuals and organizations new to the accreditation process.

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