AAAHC international accreditation gathers pace

Following a successful start to accrediting Costa Rica clinics that desire international accreditation to help in their efforts to attract more American medical tourists, AAAHC International is now keen to expand into other countries in South and Central America.

AAAHC International, a subsidiary of the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) has accredited the Luis Kaver Clínica Dental, a cosmetic dental clinic, the Hospital Clinica Metropolitana, a multi-specialty ambulatory health care clinic, and Instituto Centroamericano de Medicina ICEM-all in San Jose, Costa Rica, under the AAAHC international accreditation programme.

John Burke of AAAHC comments, “With the growth of medical tourism and the significant number of Americans living abroad, we believe it is important to offer a programme that helps ensure that ambulatory medical services in foreign countries meet high standards. By voluntarily participating in the AAAHC accreditation process, these ambulatory organizations demonstrated their commitment to the safety and quality of the care they offer patients. The AAAHC peer-based survey process makes our accreditation unique, and enable us to work closely with ambulatory centres to assess their services and assure they provide high-quality care.”

The accreditation surveys were conducted by a team of U.S.-based AAAHC surveyors who are themselves active practitioners of ambulatory health care. The first organization to be accredited by AAAHC International was the Nova Dental Center in San Jose, Costa Rica. 95% of customers of the Nova Dental Center, a full-service dental clinic that specializes in cosmetic dentistry, are from the USA. Luis Obando of Nova Dental Clinic says, “The accreditation process was a lot of work to get everything together to meet the standards, but in the end it helped to improve our clinical and administrative processes.” Nova Dental received a three-year accreditation.

The association launched its international accreditation program in Costa Rica, and other clinics in that country have begun the process toward AAAHC International accreditation. The AAAHC will soon add accreditation for ambulatory organizations in other Central and South American countries.

AAAHC International is a subsidiary of the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC). Founded in 1979, AAAHC is the leader in ambulatory health care accreditation with nearly 5,000 organizations accredited nationwide. AAAHC accredits a variety of ambulatory health care organizations, including ambulatory surgery centres, office-based surgery centres, college student health centres, managed care organizations, military health care clinics, large medical and dental practices and medical homes. Third-party payers, medical organizations, liability insurance companies, state and federal agencies and the public recognize AAAHC accreditation as a symbol of quality.

In 2012, all AAAHC accreditations will be for a standard three-year term and the less common six-month and one-year terms will be discontinued. Following an accreditation survey, there now will be only two possible outcomes: a three-year term or a denial of accreditation. The policy is effective for organizations that apply for accreditation on or after March 1, 2012, or have their surveys conducted on or after July 1, 2012.Organizations that receive accreditation but have some deficiencies will be required to submit a plan for improvement within 10 days of receiving the accreditation decision. After reviewing the plans for improvement and the survey report, the AAAHC accreditation committee will determine if an organization will require an interim survey. Organizations that demonstrate compliance with all AAAHC standards at the interim survey will maintain accreditation for the remainder of the three-year term. Organizations not in compliance may have their accreditation term revoked. In accordance with existing AAAHC policies, random and discretionary surveys of any organization also may be conducted.