Center for Improvement in Healthcare Quality Newsletter
June 2022

Center of Excellence Designation

The Mark of Distinction

How do you demonstrate to patients, payers, and your community that the care you render is truly a “cut above”?
A Center of Excellence (COE) designation means that your hospital meets evidence-based standards and performance outcomes that reflect high quality and safe patient care. Standards are based – in part – on federal regulations, recommendations by professional organizations and content experts, as well as performance metrics established by the National Quality Forum.
COE designation is currently offered in the following areas:
  • Long Term Acute Care
  • Nursing Services
  • Respiratory Therapy Services
  • Rehabilitation Services
  • Emergency Care Services
  • Palliative care
  • Environmental Health & Safety

The Survey Process

In order to obtain a COE designation, a hospital must undergo a rigorous on-site survey. The survey is one or two days in length and is conducted by one of CIHQ’ senior surveyors – individuals who are specifically trained to accurately determine compliance to COE standards. The survey is announced and scheduled in coordination with the hospital.

Survey Activities

The survey itself consists of a mixture of document review (including required policies and performance data), and visits to targeted areas of the hospital.
In addition, interviews with key leaders and a review of staff training records occurs.
Sample One Day Survey Agenda
0830 to 0845: Welcome & Opening Conference
0845 to 1030: Review of Requested Documents
1000 to 1200: Tour of Work & Care Areas
1200 to 1300: Lunch
1300 to 1500: Medical Record Review as Applicable
1500 to 1600: Staff Training & Education Review
1600 to 1630: Surveyor Preparation Time
1630: Exit Conference
Research has conclusively shown that hospitals that consistently deliver evidence-based care;
  • Have better patient outcomes
  • Reduce the incidence of errors and adverse events
  • Reduce the overall cost of care
  • Have higher patient satisfaction

Duration of Award

COE designation is awarded for a maximum of 36 months


Fees are billed on an annual or quarterly basis as preferred by the organization. Fees include surveys and surveyor travel expenses.
  • A COE designation fee for a CIHQ accredited organization is $2,500 annually.
  • A COE designation fee for a non-CIHQ accredited organization is $4,500 annually

For Further Information

Center for Improvement in Healthcare Quality
Attn: Traci Curtis, Executive Director of Survey Operations
P.O. Box 3620
McKinney, TX 75070
Apply On-line at

"Carson Tahoe Continuing Care Hospital was redesignated as a Center of Excellence in Long Term Acute Care in 2019. This demonstrates to our community and healthcare partners that the Carson Tahoe Commitment to Excellence extends across our health system. Our partnership with CIHQ is one of collaboration with a mutual goal of excellence and healthcare quality.
We appreciate them!"
Valerie Linke, System Licensing and Accreditation Analyst
Carson Tahoe Health