An evaluative process in which a health care organisation undergoes an examination of its policies, procedures and performance by an external organisation (accrediting body) to ensure that it is meeting predetermined standards. For facilities, accreditation standards are usually defined in terms of physical plant, governing body, administration, and medical and other staff. Accreditation is often carried out by organisations created for the purpose of assuring the public of the quality of the accredited institution or program. The State can recognise accreditation in lieu of, or as the basis for mandatory approvals. Public or private payment programs often require accreditation as a condition of payment for covered services. Accreditation may either be permanent or may be given for a specified period of time.