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CCRCs & the CARF Seal of Approval

Ann Gillespie
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Ann Gillespie

Over 25 years ago, a group of pioneering leaders from the senior living, finance, and consumer advocacy fields came together to create a national campaign for excellence in continuing care retirement communities through the establishment of an accrediting body, a set of rigorous standards and a peer review system. Today, just 13 percent of the nation's continuing care retirement communities has earned accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities and Continuing Care Accreditation Commission, known as CARF-CCAC.

Achieving this designation requires a significant level of effort and commitment – it means that a senior living community is opening itself to an on-site visit by an independent survey team that will judge its quality; financial health; and resident, associate and board satisfaction and commitment. This team conducts interviews and reviews hundreds of documents required to demonstrate compliance with the Commission’s more than 600 measures of quality in the areas of resident service, administration and governance practices, and financial viability.

A community that has met or exceeded these standards carries affirmation by a third party that it is committed to being a leader and innovator in the senior living and health care fields.

It takes the better portion of a year for a community to prepare well for the on-site survey. Afterwards, the organization receives an Accreditation Report outlining each CARF-CCAC standard and a “grade” of conformance, partial conformance or non-conformance with each standard, as well as industry benchmarking data for comparison purposes. For areas where the community received a partial or non-conformance score, it must submit an annual Quality Improvement Plan to the Commission demonstrating the work being done to meet that standard. 

In short, seeking CARF-CCAC accreditation shows a provider’s dedication to continually improving the quality of its services and to strong financial stewardship.

In addition to involving the community’s board, administration and residents in the accreditation process,  CARF also requires that the community communicate those standards to such vendors as pharmacies, health services providers and dining  – and to demonstrate that they are operating at those same standards.

Asbury’s decision to voluntarily participate in this process demonstrates our commitment to those twin objectives – and the ongoing CARF-CCAC evaluation process helps serve as a guidepost and checkpoint to achieving them. We are proud that every Asbury continuing care retirement community holds this designation, and that several of our associates have been asked to volunteer as surveyors for the Commission.

As an outsider, trying to determine the quality of a retirement or long-term care community is challenging. Ask about accreditation before making such a significant emotional and financial investment. 

Ann Gillespie

Submitted by Ann Gillespie

Ann Gillespie is the Chief Strategy Officer for Asbury Communities.

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