Monday, August 31, 2020

Protecting the Public: Health Facility Licensing

While hospitals and nursing homes are readily recognized as examples of institutional healthcare facilities, many other types of health facilities deliver patient care within the U.S. healthcare system.  Comprised of both profit and non-profit oriented organizations, these institutional providers typically focus on delivering either a specific type of healthcare service or, in some cases, serving a particular segment of the community.  Beyond hospitals and nursing homes, institutional health facilities include:

  • adult day care centers
  • ambulatory surgery centers
  • assisted living facilities
  • birth centers
  • clinical laboratories
  • federally qualified health centers
  • community mental health centers
  • dialysis clinics
  • outpatient rehabilitation facilities
  • end-stage renal disease centers
  • home health agencies
  • hospices
  • intermediate care facilities
  • facilities for the developmentally disabled
  • residential treatment facilities
  • rural health clinics
  • skilled nursing facilities

Regulatory oversight of hospitals, nursing homes and these other types of institutional health facilities comes at both the federal and state levels.  At the federal level, all of these institutional providers must meet certain requirements in order to participate in the Medicare program that provides health insurance to most everyone over the age of 65, plus several million younger individuals with disabilities.  In order to assist consumers in determining if a hospital or other health facility meets these federal requirements to participate in Medicare, the U.S. government makes available more than a half-dozen online provider lookup tools:

Beyond meeting requirements to participate in Medicare, institutional health facilities must also satisfy licensing standards established by regulatory authorities in each state in which they operate.  These state licensing efforts aim to protect the public by assuring that health facilities have demonstrated an ongoing ability to meet certain technical and quality-of-care standards in their delivery of services to consumers.  

To assist the public with determining the license status of institutional health facilities that operate within their boundaries, each state provides online license verification tools or resources.  Visit our Health Facilities License Lookup resource page for more information about these state license verification tools and resources.

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