A major post-acute care provider says it is taking extra steps to make sure its skilled nursing facilities perform at a high level.

PruittHealth on Tuesday announced that it enrolled an additional 91 SNFs into the Joint Commission’s Nursing Care Center Accreditation Program. 

The program is aimed at helping healthcare organizations achieve quality improvements by focusing on systems for improving performance and outcomes. Its “Gold Seal of Approval” is a highly regarded symbol of quality and safety to key stakeholders, including among residents, post-acute provider partners and payers in multiple value-based purchasing initiatives, according to the Joint Commission.

Unlike government surveys and standing regulations, Joint Commission accreditation is not mandated. It is considered an enhancement that, among other things, can signify a greater commitment toward self-examination and improvement, which could be especially helpful with nursing homes under such intense public scrutiny since the pandemic began.

Some providers have said the collaborative survey approach used by the Joint Commission also reinforces staff education as a means to improving outcomes.

PruittHealth had 16 SNFs and 26 home health offices that achieved accreditation through the program prior to Tuesday’s announcement. 

“We’ve gone to great lengths to ensure quality of care is ingrained in our culture, and every PruittHealth partner strives to provide safe, high-quality care that patients deserve and expect,” PruittHealth chairman and CEO Neil L. Pruitt Jr. said. 

The Joint Commission currently accredits about 1,100 of the nation’s 15,000-plus nursing homes — with about 150 facilities applying for the program in 2020 and 2021 thus far. Over the past five years, the program has averaged 165 applications for initial Nursing Care Center Accreditation annually. 

“PruittHealth’s commitment to expand accreditation to all of its skilled nursing centers is significant on a number of fronts,” explained Gina Zimmermann, executive director of Nursing Care Center Services for the Joint Commission.

“Especially significant is that the agreement is testament to PruittHealth’s commitment to achieve the highest levels of quality outcomes and safety for the patients and residents it serves,” she told McKnight’s Long-Term Care News on Tuesday. 

Zimmerman noted that, unlike many businesses during the pandemic, the program has seen very little downward trend in SNF applicants for accreditation.