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We are interested in becoming accredited, but our small work camp doesn’t have 24x7 nursing staff. Does that mean we can’t be accredited?

Not at all. NCCHC standards do not require 24x7 nursing coverage for accreditation. When health staff are not on site, a health care liaison can coordinate a number of health services activities, such as triaging nonemergency sick-call requests every 24 hours, facilitating sick call by having inmates and records available for the health care professional, and helping to carry out clinicians’ orders regarding such matters as diet, housing and work assignments. The health care liaison may be a correctional officer or other person without a health care license who is trained by the responsible physician in limited aspects of health care coordination. Note that if infirmary care is provided on site, then 24x7 coverage would be required as infirmary patients should always be within sight or hearing of a qualified health care professional.
— From CorrectCare Volume 25, Issue 2, Spring 2011


Our jail is accredited by NCCHC. We have been using a contract management company, but now services will be provided by our local health department. Will this affect our accreditation?

Remember that health services accreditation is granted to the facility, not to the provider, regardless of the delivery model. However, such changes can have an impact on care, so NCCHC requires that the correctional authority notify us in writing of any substantive change in management of the health care program within 30 days.

The next steps depend on the particulars of your situation (such as date of the last survey, any anticipated problems). The accreditation committee may request a written report on the transition, provide consultation or require a new survey. It also may postpone the next scheduled survey by up to six months to give the new provider time to make the transition.

The current health services provider is accountable for what is happening under its authority. When the survey does occur, we will focus primarily on information dating from the time of the transition. However, if corrective action to comply with the standards was required under the previous provider, we will look for confirmation that action has been taken and has rectified the problem. As to other issues that might arise, we deal with them on a case-by-case basis.
— From CorrectCare Volume 24, Issue 2, Spring 2010



Our prison recently received its accreditation survey report, which states that we need to take corrective action. When we send documentation of that action to NCCHC, who must sign off on the document? The DOC’s chief medical director? Our facility medical director? The health services administrator? Does it matter that the latter two work for a contract services company?

NCCHC accredits individual facilities, not systems, so the correspondence must come from the responsible health authority’s designee at the facility (standard A-02 Responsible Health Authority, Compliance Indicator 4). Usually this is the facility health services administrator. When materials are sent by contracted, system-level or regional providers, the facility-based designee must verify the documentation, usually by a cosignature. It doesn’t matter that the designee’s employer is a contractor.
— From CorrectCare Volume 24, Issue 1, Winter 2010


My facility is already accredited under the NCCHC standards for health services in jails. Now I hear that NCCHC will be offering accreditation for mental health services. What does that mean for us?

With the 2008 release of the Standards for Mental Health Services in Correctional Facilities, health professionals and administrators in the mental health arena can now access more specific guidance on quality mental health care services organization and delivery. These standards are the foundation of a new accreditation program originally intended for correctional facilities in which the legal authority for mental health services is separate from their other health services. While it is always a benefit to pursue accreditation as a unified health care delivery system, this option enables mental health services to seek accreditation even if the health services counterpart does not. However, because of great interest in the program from a wide variety of facilities seeking to achieve excellence in mental health care, NCCHC is looking to revise the criteria in the future.
— From CorrectCare Volume 22, Issue 4, Fall 2008


Our facility’s accreditation survey identified a compliance issue that was actually a systemwide problem. The central office authorities revised the policy as required by the standard in question. When we submit proof of the corrective action, do we need to send anything besides a copy of the signed, revised policy?

NCCHC’s accreditation is facility-specific. When corrective action is forwarded, we need to be as sure as we can that the action was implemented at the facility. The accreditation committee also wants to know whether the corrective action described has solved the concerns.

Suppose the compliance issue has to do with missing information on the co-pay system for inmate-initiated health services. Written, systemwide information on co-pay policies that is given to incoming inmates does not state that no one will be denied care because of inability to pay. After the survey at Facility X, the central office issues a directive that the information sheet is to be revised and reprinted. Sending NCCHC a copy of that directive is part of the answer. However, we want to know what is happening now at Facility X. Did you print a temporary sheet with the needed information? (Please send a copy.) When were staff in-serviced about the change? (Send date and sign-in for the in-service.) As of when are the new sheets being used? (What confirmation can you send?) What about the inmates already at the facility; what is being done to inform them of the change? (New signs outside the clinic? Please send a picture.)

In short, we need documentation that describes the actions taken at the facility surveyed, but we also need proof that those actions actually occurred and had the intended effect.
— From CorrectCare Volume 21, Issue 2, Spring 2007


Is there a list of accredited correctional health care companies that I can reference?

NCCHC does not accredit companies, states, agencies, contractors or systems “in the abstract.” Rather, NCCHC accredits individual correctional facilities for compliance with the relevant Standards for Health Services. It does not matter how many players (private contractors, state employees, etc.) are in a facility’s health care system: The accreditation is awarded to the facility itself for compliance with the requirements of the standards (100% of the applicable essential standards must be met and at least 85% of the applicable important standards).
— From CorrectCare Volume 18, Issue 3, Summer 2004