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Critical access hospital accreditation

Patient care is the first priority. That's why we're dedicated to ensuring your hospital is performing at its highest level…every day. Critical access hospitals have needs that differ from larger, acute care hospitals.

The critical access version of our NIAHO® accreditation standards provides the same benefits granted to acute care hospitals but addresses the specific regulations which govern critical access hospitals. Our NIAHO® standards have proven easy to implement for Critical Access Hospitals. They create real value for you, your hospital, your staff, and the patients you serve. Our annual surveys and ISO Quality Management principles raise the bar on accreditation.

Accreditation is a strategic business tool that helps hospitals live up to, and surpass, these expectations. Requirements for accreditation vary from nation to nation. Whether mandated by law or embraced voluntarily to build prestige, accreditation is a valuable asset to any hospital.

What is hospital accreditation

The accreditation programs DNV offers either directly address regulatory requirements for hospitals, such as US Government's Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), or provide guidance and best practices for clinical specialty organizations across healthcare.

DNV’s NIAHO® standards is approved by CMS. Accreditation to this standard validates Medicare compliance for US hospitals. However, it can be applied by any hospital as our approach integrates proven quality and risk management principles with specific clinical and physical environment requirements.

The accreditation program is designed to support the development and continual improvement of healthcare quality and patient safety in healthcare organizations. It also addresses general safety for workers, patients and other visitors. Our surveys provide insight and understanding on what is working effectively and what can be improved, and the accreditation provides assurance to your patients, staff and stakeholders that your hospital is working in accordance to established best practices.


Our accreditation requirements provide healthcare organizations with a clear framework for required compliance and improvement of patient safety and quality of care.  We employ surveyor teams that combine international experience with local knowledge, providing a supportive and objective third-party assessment of your systems, processes and facilities.

Our management systems approach makes accreditation against the standard a tool for identifying goals and implementing change at every level of your organization. Experience shows that it delivers:

  • Improved patient safety and quality of care;
  • Increased management confidence and assurance;
  • Active identification of areas for improvement;
  • Enhanced reputation and trust;
  • Improved staff satisfaction and motivation.

How it works

Our requirements cover key aspects of organizational governance and clinical care, including:

  • Quality management system and governance;
  • Proactive risk management;
  • Higher risk services such as anesthesia, obstetrics and ER;
  • Medication management;
  • Patient rights;
  • Physical environment.

Our accreditation standards have been developed for the following types of healthcare organizations:

  • Hospitals;
  • Primary care providers;
  • Specialist outpatient clinics.

All our surveyors have a healthcare background and specialize in one of three areas: management systems, clinical care or the physical environment. Our surveyors employ a variety of methods for assessment, including staff interviews, medical record review, organizational document review, building and offsite visits, and patient interviews and feedback.

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Critical Access Hospital Accreditation


NIAHO® Accreditation Standards - Critical Access


NIAHO® Accreditation Process