Why is CAHME Accreditation Important?
What is the significance of accreditation? It is a crucial aspect to consider while evaluating a degree program’s worth. If this approval is awarded from a reputable entity, accreditation is a mark of quality, competence, and authority. Educational institutions voluntarily undergo this evaluation process in hopes of showing that their programs are of the highest quality and meet certain standards.
In order to get accredited by a specific body, an institution must apply to undergo a review. Then, a panel of experts visits the university to take a first-hand look at its processes, features, teaching, and more. While criteria may differ by accreditation body, the entire process ensures that the university offers quality education and value to its students.
Founded in 1968, CAHME was formerly referred to as the “Accrediting Commission on Education for Health Services Administration (ACEHSA).” It acquired its new name, the “Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME),” in 2004.
It is a voluntary peer review process that is focused on improving the quality of programs on every level. CAHME acknowledges that health management and policy programs need to be creative and have some room for flexibility while they design their curriculum. Keeping this in mind, it ensures that these programs meet the diverse needs of our students.
Mainly, CAHME is focused on analyzing healthcare management programs. Notably, it has been recognized by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). As of May 2019, CAHME has awarded accreditation to over 90 graduate health administration programs all over the nation.
Given the dynamic nature of the healthcare industry and the varying needs of patients, it is essential that our hospital leaders and personnel are highly qualified and competent. CAHME-accredited programs help the workforce develop these competencies. Every phase of evaluation by CAHME—from the setting of standards and criteria to the evaluation of programs—is overlooked by healthcare management practitioners. What’s more, CAHME ensures that an institute’s curriculum is constantly evolving keeping current needs in mind, and even after receiving accreditation, institutions maintain their quality and excellence.
How CAHME Awards Accreditation
Earning accreditation from CAHME is a rigorous process, and hence, highly desired. The eligibility requirements for a university or program to receive CAHME accreditation are as follows:
- The university must offer a master’s degree in healthcare management
- The programs must be part of a higher learning institution, that has received regional accreditation.
- If the program is offered in a specific graduate school within the university, the school must also be accredited by a recognized accrediting body.
- The program must have graduated at least one class.
- The program must offer the necessary facilities, equipment, and supplies to help maintain its quality.
- The program’s activities must not discriminate based on gender, creed, age, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, or disability.
- There should a process in place for handling formal complaints by students, and student’s opinions must be taken into account to improve the program.
- The program must have a defined policy on academic standards and academic freedom.
- The university must have policies in place for research, faculty development, scholarships, and service.
- The process of faculty evaluation must be fair and faculty must comply with the rules laid down by the university.
While the points covered above are the general eligibility requirements for receiving CAHME accreditation, here are some of the criteria that CAHME employs to evaluate programs:
Criterion 1: The mission, vision, goals, and values of the program
The standards and values that a program upholds are important criteria that CAHME evaluates. Thus, it’s important that a program has its own mission statement, goals, values, and vision. These should act as a guide for the program’s design and quality. It is important that these guidelines are in keeping with the changing nature of the healthcare management sector.
Also, the program must have sufficient financial and administrative support in order to abide by its mission and objectives. Additionally, the program’s leaders must demonstrate authority in guiding the program.
Criterion 2: Students and graduates
The program’s information must be publicly available. This includes details about its mission, the application process, content, curriculum, and teaching methods. The program should have well-defined admission criteria, so it only recruits qualified students.
Additionally, it should ensure that students have access to services such as academic advising and career counseling. Apart from providing quality education, the program must also ensure career preparedness of its graduates and monitor their progress on completing the program.
Criterion 3: Curriculum
The curriculum of the program must help students develop the necessary competencies and skills required in the health and healthcare management sector. Students must develop skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, communication, analysis, and interpersonal effectiveness. The curriculum should also encourage and offer opportunities for students to partake in team activities.
Providing a thorough understanding of the different types of healthcare organizations and professionals, the program should employ teaching methods that are best suited for adult learning. Lastly, the program must constantly analyze its curriculum, teaching and learning methods, and manner of assessment.
Criterion 4: Faculty, scholarships, and services
The faculty forms an important pillar for any program to ensure its success and effectiveness. Thus, any program wishing to earn CAHME accreditation must ensure that the qualifications of its faculty are sufficient for accomplishing its mission and goals.
The core faculty of the program must be involved in evaluating students’ performance, making admission recommendations, and setting the standards for competency. They should also have a track record of research, scholarship, and professional achievements in accordance with their career stage. They should actively participate in health-related professional and community activities. It is also important that the program has a systematic plan in place for faculty improvement and for individual faculty scholarship and research.
The Bottom Line: CAHME Accreditation is Important
CAHME helps programs improve their quality. It accomplishes this goal through boot camps, campus visits, mentorship activities, and enhanced benchmarking. Its ultimate goal is to help improve the overall quality of healthcare management education. A program not accredited by CAHME is difficult to vouch for in terms of quality. Students are unsure about the quality of education such programs will offer.
Graduates opting for CAHME-accredited programs can be sure that they are receiving a best-in-class healthcare management education. The curriculum, faculty, and career counseling services offered by CAHME-accredited programs are all evaluated by professionals to help students develop the essential skills needed in the healthcare management sector.
Overall, CAHME-accredited programs can put students at an advantage when seeking professional credentialing, employment, or further education.