What is JCAHO?


JCAHO is an acronym for the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. Also known as “The Joint Commission”, JCAHO provides oversight and accreditation to healthcare organizations that meet its stringent safety standards. It is important to note that in many cases, applying for and achieving JCAHO, or accreditation is totally voluntary. Many organizations are free to operate with JCAHO’s oversight or accreditation. The purpose of this article is to inform you of what JCAHO is and if it is important as it relates to you or your loved one’s search for substance abuse treatment.



What is JCAHO’s Mission?


According to The Joint Commission’s own website, jointcommission.org, JCAHO’s mission is as follows: “The Joint Commission Enterprise is a global driver of quality improvement and patient safety in healthcare. Through leading practices, unmatched knowledge and expertise, and rigorous standards, we help organizations across the continuum of care lead the way to zero harm.”


History of JCAHO


The Joint Commission was founded in 1951 as an independent and not-for-profit organization that evaluates and certifies hospitals and other healthcare organizations. JCAHO is the nation’s largest and earliest standard-setting organization in the healthcare vertical. In 1987 the Joint Commission launched what it called its Agenda for Change, which aimed to modernize the accreditation process to really emphasize performance. JCAHO now employs well over 1000 inspectors and accredits as many as 22000 healthcare organizations.


Types of Organizations that JCAHO Accredits


While JCAHO provides education resources for a huge variety of organizations its accreditation process, or “gold seal of approval” as it is known to many healthcare professionals, focuses on six primary types of healthcare organizations. They are as follows:


  • Hospital: General, children’s, psychiatric, rehabilitation, and critical access hospitals
  • Home care: Home health, hospice, pharmacy, personal care, medical equipment, and community-based palliative care services
  • Nursing care center: Post-acute, sub-acute, and long term care
  • Behavioral health care: Mental health, addiction treatment, ID/DD, and child welfare services
  • Ambulatory care: Ambulatory surgery centers, medical groups, urgent care centers, and office-based surgery practices
  • Laboratory services: Independent or freestanding clinical laboratories



JCAHO in Behavioral Health

The Joint Commission oversees and accredits a large number of organizations that fall under the umbrella of behavioral health. This includes mental health services, substance abuse or addiction treatment, eating disorder treatment, and social or human service organizations. As a substance abuse treatment provider, we at Harbor Wellness and Recovery Center fall under the umbrella of behavioral health in terms of JCAHO standards and accreditation. Harbor Wellness and Recovery Center has been accredited by JCAHO and proudly holds itself to the highest industry standards in the area of safety and patient care.


Why is JCAHO Important For a Substance Abuse Treatment Provider?


When you or a loved one are searching for substance abuse treatment you will find a multitude of treatment options which can be very overwhelming. It is extremely important to do your research and vet the treatment provider before beginning treatment. One of the easier ways to distinguish the reputable high-quality facilities from the rest is by inquiring if the treatment provider has the JCAHO seal of accreditation. This seal indicates not only that a third-party organization has physically surveyed that treatment provider to assure it meets the highest safety and patient care standards but also that the organization makes patient care its highest priority. There is a reason, not every provider will be accredited by the joint commission. As mentioned previously the accreditation is totally optional and not at all required, it can be expensive, and it requires the organization to hold itself to higher standards than required to hold a state license. In other words, organizations with the JCAHO seal of accreditation are willing to invest their time and money to go above and beyond in the areas of safety and patient care. This is definitely an indication that the facility is high quality and worthy of serious consideration for yourself or a loved one.


If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse of any kind, we are here to help. Please call us at 855-698-3554 or directly at 201-663-2914 for a confidential consultation with one of our treatment specialists. If you prefer to communicate with us via email please click here or email us at outreach@harborwellnesscenter.org