Through out 2013 Edison Court put great effort toward becoming nationally accredited. As a result of their careful planning, dedication to the process and commitment to quality, the decision to accredit was “expedited,” which means that no further evidence was necessary following the onsite visit. Here is an account of how they have put accreditation in action:
1. Which accreditation do you hold and for how long?
We were informed of our expedited accreditation from Council on Accreditation (COA) on November 22, 2013. This is the first time our organization has pursued accreditation.
2. What was the original reason(s) for becoming accredited?
Our Board of Directors and key administrative staff had included the goal of accreditation in the strategic plan for our organization about two years ago. We were motivated to pursue accreditation to reassure our funders and stakeholders that our organization was aspiring to the highest standards of governance, management and performance evaluation and improvement. Further, we expect that accreditation will be a prerequisite to receive necessary federal and state dollars for behavioral health in the near future.
3. How has accreditation positively impacted the operations or functioning of your organization?
The most powerful impact accreditation has had on our agency is the development of the Performance and Quality Improvement (PQI) Committee, which is comprised of staff members representing every part of our organization. Our PQI Plan has helped us structure the way we gather, collate, interpret and respond to metrics and analytics in our organization, which has helped us base decision-making on real information rather than merely assumptions and gut feelings.
4. What advice would you give to an organization becoming accredited for the first time?
Clearly articulating the reason for pursuing accreditation throughout the organization is essential so that internally everyone will understand the importance of what is at stake and how their contributions will make a positive difference in our future successes.
5. How do you motivate staff during the self-study and/or site visit phase?
This is where clearly articulating and describing the process is crucial. Helping staff to understand that this is not an inquisition into their work and commitment, but is a process by which our organization will establish baselines from which to meaningfully measure growth and improvement going forward. In other words, this is not a witch hunt. This process is intended to identify our strengths and our opportunities so that we can strengthen our organization, service delivery and the satisfaction of our staff and stakeholders alike.
6. What is one way that accreditation has added value to you organization’s name recognition in the community you serve or to your outreach/public relations efforts?
We just recently received word of our accreditation, so it is difficult to assess the full value added thus far. However, the response to our announcement from our stakeholders has been tremendous! The positive reaction and genuine support for our efforts has been palpable and will certainly result in a reservoir of good will.
7. How did your organization celebrate becoming accredited?
We will be celebrating our accreditation at our upcoming Annual State of the Union Address and subsequent Holiday Party. More immediately, an email blast was broadcast throughout our organization thanking everyone for their efforts and highlighting the importance of our newly earned distinction. Our holiday party is being dedicated to the efforts of everyone in the organization who helped us rise to the challenged of accreditation. There will be a special focus in the address highlighting the important components of accreditation that will serve the organization well including the development of the PQI Committee and the Risk Management Committee.
8. About Edison Court:
Edison Court is a forensic behavioral health organization that specializes in treating children and families referred through the child welfare and criminal justice systems in Southeastern PA. Find us at www.edisoncourt.com.
Edison Court is dedicated to providing responsive and innovate care to individuals and families facing behavioral and mental health challenges. We believe that providing effective and proven behavioral health interventions improves individual health and, consequently, community health. We are driven by the goal of making our communities healthier and happier places to live, work, and play.
Jay Deppeler, M.Ed., President and CEO
Kristin DeForest, M.A., LPC, Director of Program Services and Compliance