Frequently Asked Questions About Accreditation

  • What type of accreditation offerings will be provided under the new ACC/AHA collaboration?

    Starting in 2017, U.S. hospitals will have access to a comprehensive suite of co-branded accreditation services designed to optimize patient outcomes and improve hospital financial performance. These services will be focused on all aspects of cardiac care, including chest pain, cardiac catheterization, atrial fibrillation, heart failure and other cardiovascular conditions. In addition to offering disease-specific accreditations, a multi-faceted cardiac accreditation program will be developed by this collaboration to enable hospitals and health systems to achieve the highest standard of cardiac care for all patients.

    The ACC and AHA are committed to reducing duplication and confusion in the marketplace and provide hospitals with a single source for state-of-the-art accreditation services to enhance quality and optimize patient outcomes and hospital financial performance. This collaboration will integrate the very latest evidence-based science and ACC/AHA guidelines into a comprehensive suite of accreditation services to support health care institutions’ entire cardiovascular care needs.

  • What is the overarching accreditation product being offered by AHA?

    The AHA’s institution cardiac accreditation program will build upon the individual service line accreditation products of the ACC and is currently in development for a launch in January 2017.

  • What are the benefits of this collaboration?

    By joining together, the ACC and the AHA have a real opportunity to help hospitals accelerate the quality of cardiovascular care for all patients and improve their financial performance in ways we can’t do alone. The ACC/AHA collaboration builds upon shared goals of transforming cardiovascular care and helping people live longer, healthier lives.

    This collaboration will create a single gold standard for the highest quality of cardiovascular care that patients can easily recognize when choosing their hospital.

  • Will the collaboration be implemented immediately?

    The ACC/AHA accreditation collaboration will be effective as of Jan. 1, 2017. However, leaders and staff of both organizations are already working together.

  • Does this collaboration include clinical data registries and programs like Mission: Lifeline?

    This collaboration relates to Accreditation only. Clinical data registries, like those offered by the ACC’s NCDR and the AHA’s Get With The Guidelines programs, as well as quality programs like AHA’s Mission: Lifeline, will continue to operate separately. The relevant clinical registry programs of both organizations will support the data needs and requirements for hospitals participating in any ACC/AHA Accreditation offerings. More detailed information will be available for interested facilities and hospitals participating in relevant registries and accreditation programs.

  • Are the accreditation offerings under this collaboration different from what is currently being offered by the ACC through the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care?

    Yes and no. The co-branded accreditation products will include all of the current accreditation products for Chest Pain, Heart Failure, Atrial Fibrillation and Cath PCI developed by the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care, the accreditation arm of the ACC. The AHA’s Mission: Lifeline Accreditation for STEMI Receiving and Referring Centers will also continue to be available and offered through the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care. Additional accreditation products will be developed over time by the collaboration and communicated to hospitals and facilities as they are available.

  • What does this mean for a hospital already certified by the AHA and The Joint Commission (TJC) in Advanced Heart Failure?

    With this announcement, the AHA and ACC will be working exclusively together to provide cardiovascular accreditation services.  As a result, the AHA will be transitioning out of its involvement in all current and planned cardiovascular offerings outside of this collaboration including the Advanced Heart Failure certification with The Joint Commission.  This transition will occur over time with the goal of minimizing any interruption and disruption of the services hospitals participating in these programs might experience as a result.

  • What does this mean for a hospital already certified by AHA/TJC in Stroke Certification?

    The ACC/AHA collaboration is focused on cardiovascular accreditation programs and services.  The AHA will continue to provide stroke certification and accreditations services directly and through collaboration with partners, including The Joint Commission.

  • What does this mean for hospitals already participating in an ACC Accreditation program offered through the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care, or in an AHA Accreditation program?

    The ACC’s accreditation approach with each hospital and hospital system will remain unchanged. The ACC, through SCPC, will continue to provide reliable tools and resources; engage with hospitals and facilities early to coach the multi-disciplinary team; and work to help each hospital and facility achieve the best possible outcomes for cardiovascular patients. The AHA’s Mission: Lifeline Accreditation for STEMI Receiving and Referring Centers will also remain unchanged at this time. The AHA will continue to work towards its goal to improve the consistency of cardiac care by providing a standard approach to the treatment of STEMI patients and meet state policy designation needs.

  • Who can I contact for more information?

    For more information, please email