At its core, the accountable care organization (ACO) healthcare model is designed to provide high-quality patient care at the best possible cost. With its introduction in 2010’s healthcare reform, the concept spurred a sweeping number of changes to hospital operations.
As the effects of the change still become evident, organizations nationwide are taking the necessary steps to adjust to their new environment. In one such case, the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC), a nationwide accreditating agency for ambulatory health care organizations, recently announced the creation of a pilot program designed to oversee small hospitals located in rural, urban, and suburban regions in the U.S.
Known as the Accreditation Association for Hospital/Health Systems (AAHHS), according to a press release from the association, the program will:
- Evaluate health care services against nationally recognized standards of care
- Provide an educational, consultative program rather than a punitive approach
- Help develop the skills and competencies of hospital staff
- Offer opportunities for quality improvement based on survey observations and related best practices
- Include a peer-based on-site survey conducted by surveyors who themselves are hospital leaders
AAAHC president and CEO, John Burke, PhD pointed to the proliferation of ACOs, and a related trend toward primary care physicians and free-standing ambulatory care facilities moving back into hospitals, as reasons for creating the new organization. He stated that the AAAHS is intended to “improve patient care by offering a program that addresses both outpatient and inpatient hospital care and the ambulatory care offered by small hospital systems.”