At the beginning of October, our organization went through a Joint Commission survey to establish our renewal of accreditation for the next 3 years. This triennial survey was an opportunity to have a national surveyor with extensive experience reviewing behavioral health agencies visit us and assess our processes and adherence to standards. Our surveyor, Genie Skypeck PhD, has been a long time Joint Commission surveyor (started in 1976) with an extensive background in psychology, behavioral medicine, and outcome evaluations.
As with any organizational review it can be a stressful experience, especially for the lucky few that encountered a tracer by the surveyor first hand. The main purpose of the survey, after all, is to verify our compliance with the standards set forth by the Joint Commission. It was impressive to witness the outstanding composure, professionalism and communication of processes our staff presented during the surveys. The surveyor was complimentary regarding the openness of our staff and the obvious eagerness to learn and explore different strategies for quality improvement.
One of the benefits of accreditation is that every three years we have a well-informed colleague from the field come in and give us a week long consultation on our processes and structure. Their feedback is based on their observations of best practices across the nation. When we have this outside eye looking in, it gives us a unique perspective into our practices and areas where the “status quo” may have taken root, hindering innovation. The surveyor was able to identify areas of improvement that we may not have noticed without her. Some of the observations were things that could be easily integrated into our systems to improve quality of care we provide our students, while others were areas that could improve safety. We have already begun integrating changes based on the surveyor’s suggestions and welcome the opportunity to continue to strive for excellence. Our goal is to make certain we are providing the best care possible to the children and families we serve.
At the end of it all, we are thankful to have had the opportunity to learn and grow. We are also thankful for all of the dedicated employees at AK Child & Family and their contributions towards a successful outcome: 3 more years of accreditation! We couldn’t do what we do without the assistance of every individual committed to fulfilling the mission of our organization.