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Accreditation and Other Review Agencies

The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's (DHMH) Office of Health Care Quality (OHCQ) licenses health care facilities in Maryland and is required to evaluate all hospitals and investigate and respond to all consumer complaints. Hospitals may seek accreditation from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO).


The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) is an independent, not-for-profit organization that evaluates the quality and safety of care for more than 17,000 health care facilities nationwide. JCAHO conducts an on-site review every three years at hospitals that request accreditation.

JCAHO develops standards that relate to all aspects of hospital management, including:

  • Patient care
  • Documentation
  • Patient safety
  • Emergency management
  • Infection control

When a hospital is accredited by JCAHO, the hospital receives “deemed” status from the federal government. This grants the hospital approval for participation in the Medicare program. Maryland grants a similar “deemed” status for hospitals accredited by JCAHO.

Other Review Agencies

Maryland Health Care Commission
The Maryland Health Care Commission is responsible for developing a Hospital Performance Guide and for oversight of the Certificate of Need Program, which reviews the need for health care services and facilities in a particular area.

Health Services Cost Review Commission
The Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC) is charged with reviewing and approving rates that hospitals can charge for services. In Maryland, the HSCRC sets rates for all payers – private insurance companies, HMOs, Medicare and Medicaid. This system is referred to as the “all-payer” system where all payers pay for their fair share of hospital costs. The HSCRC also makes financial information about Maryland hospitals available to the public.