Joint Commission (JCAHO) Accredited Drug And Alcohol Rehab Centers

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on March 27, 2020

Finding an accredited drug and alcohol treatment center is a must when looking for help for yourself or a loved one. The Joint Commission (JCAHO) offers the highest level of accreditation generally accepted within the addiction treatment industry.

JCAHO Accredited Rehab Centers

Finding An Accredited Drug And Alcohol Treatment Center

Finding quality addiction treatment can be difficult and worrisome. It’s an investment in a better future and your health and safety is on the line, so you want to make sure the program checks out and is capable of providing effective treatment and services.

The Joint Commission, which was once known as the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), gives their stamp of approval to certain rehab centers that meet their guidelines and standards of quality care.

What Is The Joint Commission?

Founded in 1951, the Joint Commission is an independent, nonprofit organization working to improve healthcare for the public by evaluating various healthcare organizations. The evaluation process is meant to inspire treatment providers to provide high-quality, safe, and effective care for their patients.

The Joint Commission is governed by a board of 32 members, which includes physicians, nurses, administrators, quality experts, educators, and a consumer advocate. The organization has field offices in Illinois and Washington D.C. and employs over 1,000 people.

What Does The Joint Commission Do?

The Joint Commission has accredited and certified nearly 22,000 healthcare programs and organizations in the U.S. The types of programs it accredits ranges from hospitals to laboratory services to addiction treatment programs and more.

Simply put, the Joint Commission sets standards for the country’s healthcare industry. Through the rigorous accreditation process, healthcare organizations can earn the Joint Commission’s seal of approval.

What’s The Process For Accreditation?

To become accredited, the rehab center must undergo an on-site survey run by a Joint Commission survey team. To maintain accreditation, the survey team comes on-site every three years to further review and evaluate the practices of the rehab center.

The survey process is data-driven and focuses on patients and how they receive care. The ultimate objective of the survey is to do two things: evaluate the organization and provide “good practice” guidance to ensure staff maintain a consistent quality of care.

After the initial survey, the rehab center will undergo an unannounced survey between 18-36 months later. The rehab center receives no prior notice of the survey. This ensures the organization is maintaining “good practices” on a day-to-day basis, without the benefit of preparing for the survey.

Once accreditation is official, the rehab center will be listed on Quality Check, the online guide for finding Joint Commission accredited organizations.

What Happens During The On-Site Survey?

The backbone of each on-site survey is called the Tracer methodology. The Tracer methodology uses real patients, residents, and individuals to assess the care standards of the rehab center. The “Tracers” follow a patient through the entire treatment program to establish the effectiveness and quality of the program.

The Tracer methodology system also evaluates how the rehab center communicates across departments during the treatment process.

The onsite survey further includes:

  • leadership sessions
  • orientation to the organization
  • competence assessment process
  • building tour/environment of care session
  • exit conferences (survey team presents survey findings)

After the survey, if the rehab center doesn’t receive any requirements for improvement (RTFs), accreditation becomes official. If there are improvements to be made, the rehab center must submit a report that shows how they’re improving before they become officially accredited.

The Benefits Of Joint Commission Accreditation

The main benefit of Joint Commission accreditation is the reassurance patients within a drug or alcohol rehab program will receive high-quality care. If a rehab center is accredited, potential patients and their families can rest easy because they will be well-taken care of in a safe environment.

Other benefits of JCAHO accreditation include:

  • a competitive edge in the drug rehabilitation marketplace
  • creating a stronger and more efficient treatment program to best serve patients
  • enhancing staff recruitment and development
  • improving confidence of the rehab center within the community
  • lowering insurance costs for both patients and rehab centers providing practical tools to strengthen or maintain excellence

Patient safety and quality of care are the central ideas behind the Joint Commission’s accreditation. The approval is good for the both the rehab center and the patient. An accreditation means the center will consistently improve care and patients will receive treatment in a safe, stable, and supportive environment.

What Are The Joint Commission Standards For Treatment?

The whole accreditation process is based on certain standards. These standards help guide evaluations to improve treatment center performance. The goal of the Joint Commission’s standards are to set expectations for rehab centers that are surveyable, reasonable, and achievable.

Standards are informed by the latest scientific research and developed with healthcare professionals, providers, and other industry leaders. Standards are updated as necessary and may continue to change to help combat the country’s ongoing problem with addiction.

There are countless standards the Joint Commission issues for rehab centers, which may include, but aren’t limited to:

  • assessments contain information about individual’s previous treatment, their response to it, and their relapse history
  • care-based discharge planning (not kicking someone out for relapse or poor behavior)
  • consistent levels of methadone and buprenorphine treatment in medication-assisted treatment (MAT) programs
  • obtaining the individual’s history of mental, emotional, behavioral, legal, and social consequences of addiction

The complete Joint Commission standards are available for purchase on the Joint Commission Resources (JCR) website. JCR provides resources and other tools to help treatment providers improve their performance so patients receive the highest-level of care.

Does Joint Commission Accreditation Guarantee Successful Recovery?

Because every person’s struggle with addiction is different, there is no way to guarantee a positive outcome after treatment, even within an accredited rehab program. Plus, reviewing quality measures in thousands of treatment programs across the country is difficult and requires constant updating and improving.

The Joint Commission has been criticized for focusing too much on process measures rather than positive outcomes. Nonetheless, Joint Commission approval and accreditation is much better than no accreditation at all.

With an accreditation form the Joint Commission, a rehab center is showing the public they care about providing quality treatment, have taken the time to undergo a diligent process of evaluation, and wish to consistently improve measures of treatment.

Find An Accredited Rehab Center Today

Searching the Quality Check website, which can be filtered by state, city, or service, is an easy-to-use resource to find listings for accredited organizations. Visiting different rehab center websites will also show the seal of approval, typically at the bottom of the page or somewhere visible. Or, simply contact a rehab center and ask if the treatment program is accredited by the Joint Commission.

Call now to learn more about rehab center accreditation, or to find a Joint Commission accredited program today.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.

These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.

  • Was this Helpful?
  • YesNo
Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on March 27, 2020
Let us walk you through the treatment process. We're here to help.
For 24/7 Treatment Help:
100% Free & Confidential. Call (844) 616-3400