The community mental health center at St. Elizabeths Hospital has received a one-year accreditation from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals, Health, Education and Welfare Secretary Joseph A. Califano announced yesterday.

Approval of the federally-run center comes at a time when several other District of Columbia medical facilities have been criticized because of mismanagement and operational inadequacies.

Both St. Elizabeths Hospital itself and the D.C. General Hospital have lost their accreditation.

The St. Elizabeths mental health center, which serves about 1,600 Southeast Washington residents, was among 43 to 53 such health centers selected nationwide for accreditation. This was the first time that such facilities had been examined by the Joint Commission.

In August last year, Califano took over operation of St. Elizabeths Hospital, pledging to "take every step to bring about full accreditation."

The St. Elizabeths mental health center was the only Washington area center surveyed for accreditation. There are about five other mental health centers in the city which are run by the city's Department of Human Resources.

The partial one-year accreditation received by the St. Elizabeths facility means that "minor paperwork needs to be taken care of and more responsibility designated to some staffers," an HEW spokesman said. After that, he predicted, the center would likely receive the full, two-year accreditation.