Managing Risk through Accreditation

With Hurricane Sandy’s recent attack on the East Coast there is much talk about clean up, insurance claims and accounting for the whereabouts of friends, family and co-workers. What if you were not just responsible for yourself and immediate family members, but also for the direct care of vulnerable children, youth and individuals as are the employees and leaders of human service organizations across the country? Wouldn’t it be a relief to know that all had been done to plan ahead and minimize risk?

Taking an agency through the accreditation process allows for improvements in a wide variety of administration and management areas as well as services provided, including risk prevention/management, safety, security and emergency response preparedness. It is not uncommon for an agency to increase its levels of insurance coverage as a result of completing a risk assessment tied to the accreditation process. This then allows the organization to be better prepared to recover from damage when a natural disaster strikes, such as Hurricane Sandy.

A number of accredited organizations are able to obtain reduced insurance premiums as a result of being accredited. Insurance agencies recognize that when an agency properly prepares for and maintains accreditation it is well positioned to appropriately manage risk. Two examples may be found here.

Effective risk management controls also include emergency response preparedness. An accredited agency is required to have a written disaster plan for evacuation and relocation of staff and clients, parent-child reunification following a disaster, as well as specific plans to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities and other special needs during emergencies. The organization must also address coordination with governmental authorities and emergency responders. Further, staff needs to be trained on how to respond to medical threats and emergencies and how to handle potential safety risks they may encounter on the job.

Wishing everyone a safe and full recovery.

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