Why JCAHO Accreditation Matters in Eating Disorder Treatment

Support System

The Joint Commission (JCAHO) is a professional health-care group that evaluates healthcare centers on the quality of care they provide [1]. JCAHO has standards for healthcare centers that are required for accreditation. JCAHO’s standards are based on patient safety and quality of care [1].

JCAHO Standards for Eating Disorder Treatment

For an eating disorder treatment facility to be accredited through JCAHO, they have to meet several different standards. These standards are focused on different aspects of eating disorder treatment [1]. JCAHO Standards tend to focus on the following:

  • Assessments- The assessment process is important to figure out how to treat someone’s eating disorder. Assessment may include things like laboratory testing or psychological assessments. This part of treatment helps eating disorder professionals figure out how someone’s eating disorder is impacting them medically or psychologically. Proper assessment helps healthcare professionals create effective treatment plans.
  • Treatment Plans- JCAHO requires that eating disorder treatment professionals create treatment plans. A treatment plan is where healthcare providers provide a diagnosis and their plan on how to help someone recover.
  • Assessing Outcomes- It’s important for healthcare professionals have standardized ways of figuring out how their clients are responding to the care they’re getting. JCAHO requires healthcare providers to collect data from their patients throughout the treatment process.
  • Coordination of Care- Sometimes in eating disorder treatment, individuals may change levels-of-care. This means that they may be transferred to a hospital or discharge from a residential rehabilitation facility to a day program. In order to best support clients, JCAHO requires that providers communicate with each other. This can help make someone’s transition as smooth as possible and make sure all providers are on the same page.
  • Multidisciplinary Care Teams- Eating disorders are complex conditions. Eating disorders are both a medical and mental health concern. For this reason, eating disorder treatment facilities have professionals from different occupational backgrounds. Typically, someone’s team includes a doctor, registered dietitian, mental health therapist, and a psychiatrist.

These standards help ensure that the eating disorder treatment someone receives is effective and safe.

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JCAHO Accreditation & Why It Matters for Eating Disorder Treatment

This accreditation matters in eating disorder treatment because this means that treatment center has been evaluated and has shown that they provide safe and effective care [1]. This is really important since eating disorders are one of the deadliest mental illnesses [1]. Standards for high quality care can be the difference between life and death.

Seeking treatment from a JCAHO accredited eating disorder treatment center also lets individuals know that this center has been tested and determined to meet high standards for care. This can help you decide between treatment centers.

Insurance companies may be unwilling to pay for treatment with a center who isn’t JCAHO accredited. For most people, insurance coverage is necessary to receive care. Choosing a JCAHO accredited center can improve the likelihood that insurance will authorize eating disorder treatment.

It can be stressful to decide where to get eating disorder treatment. Looking for centers that are JCAHO accredited can help narrow down the options and help you feel more confident that you’ve found a safe and effective treatment center.


[1] The Joint Commission. (2021). Accreditation & certification. https://www.jointcommission.org/accreditation-and-certification/

About the Author:

Samantha Bothwell PhotoSamantha Bothwell, LMFT, is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, writer, explorer, and lipstick aficionado. She became a therapist after doing her own healing work so she could become whole after spending many years living with her mind and body disconnected. She has focused her clinical work to support the healing process of survivors of sexual violence and eating disorders. She is passionate about guiding people in their return to their truest Self so they can live their most authentic, peaceful life.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective on eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Published May 4, 2021 on EatingDisorderHope.com
Reviewed & Approved on May 4, 2021, by Jacquelyn Ekern MS, LPC