The AAAHC rewrote its standards to include elements of compliance. The 2018 Accreditation Handbook for Ambulatory Health Care contains revised standards that will be implemented in surveys starting March 1, 2018.

“It’s in a far different format than in the past,” says Mary Wei, MBA, assistant director of accreditation services at AAAHC. “We’re moving forward a more transparent process for facilities to see which part of the standard they may be challenged to comply with, or which part they did really well on,” Wei explains. “So, we think it will be a great change for facilities and will reduce some of the variability between surveys and surveyors.”

The change also means organizations can look at surveyor’s comments and see what the surveyor really meant, she adds. The new handbook is available both in paper and PDF. The PDF version features fillable forms. Elements of compliance contain decision points that indicate what surveyors look for to determine compliance. The new standards were written to be more succinct, concise, and to present clear points that each accredited organization should meet.

For example, current standards are broad-based statements that embody many elements of compliance. One standard for 2017 reads: “Patients are treated with respect, consideration, and dignity.” Now, in the 2018 guide, there is a list of elements of compliance, under the standard. For that example, these include the following:

• Patients are provided appropriate privacy: at check-in and in evaluation and treatment areas.

• Interpretation services are available.

• To the degree that it is known, patients are provided with information concerning their diagnosis, evaluation, treatment, and prognosis. When it is medically inadvisable to give such information to a patient, the information is provided to a person designated by the patient or to a legally authorized person.

• Patients receive the opportunity to participate in decisions involving their healthcare, except when such participation is contraindicated for medical reasons.

“Yes” responses are counted and applied to a rating chart that includes “fully compliant,” “substantially compliant,” “partially compliant,” “minimally compliant,” or “noncompliant.”

For more information about the 2018 handbook, please visit: