At AK Child & Family, we place a high standard on the quality of care we provide for the children and families in our programs. Because of this, we took the steps to become accredited through the Joint Commission in November of 1990, and have maintained that accreditation ever since. The Joint Commission’s accreditation is recognized nationwide as a symbol of quality for behavioral health providers.
In Behavioral Health, there are many systems in place that regulate the services we provide to families and youth in our care. Our main regulatory body is the State of Alaska which authorizes and grants our license. As part of this process, inspections occur through by a team of health facility surveyors to ensure we are meeting state and federal standards for quality and safety of the youth in our care. Accreditation from The Joint Commission takes it a step further. Accreditation is voluntary and requires us to meet an even higher level of standards. By pursuing and maintaining accreditation, our organization demonstrates a commitment to best practices and a culture of excellence. By voluntarily subscribing to the accreditation process, we have agreed to comply with pre-established, peer reviewed standards that reflect high performance expectations. The Joint Commission Certificate on our wall indicates a “symbol of quality” and a commitment to consumer care.
To maintain accreditation, AK Child & Family undergoes extensive onsite surveys of accreditation standards a minimum of once every 3 years and internal reviews on a continuous basis. These surveys inspire us to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value. The Joint Commission representatives use a unique tracer methodology to assess compliance with accreditation standards by observing the care and treatment we provide, in other words tracing individual students’ treatment from time of admission to discharge. System tracers are also used to evaluate processes and performance improvement. It may include everything from reviewing documentation, asking staff how they address different treatment objectives, speaking to the students in care, observing medication administration, or asking where the fire exits are. The scope of the survey includes all aspects of treatment from paperwork to living environment to care delivery.
The impact of accreditation on the quality of our services is most apparent in our structure of care. Accreditation provides us with a framework for staff education, serves as a guide for performance improvement, and addresses safety issues and ethics. Joint Commission accreditation builds community confidence in our program because it shows that we are committed to excellence in quality care. This in turn makes us a provider of choice for many referring agencies and families and helps us maintain State, Federal and Medicaid licensing requirements.
AK Child & Family is proud to have received the Gold Seal of Approval from the Joint Commission for meeting and exceeding standards. To learn more about our Joint Commission Accreditation, you can go directly to the Joint Commission website.