***NATSAP has asked several accreditation consultants to write a guest blog post discussing accreditation and what it means for a program to pursue accreditation. NATSAP does not promote or refer anyone consultant or business over another. ***
NATSAP is “Guiding the Way” for its members to achieve higher standards of quality and excellence. A guiding way that takes safety and evidence-based outcomes seriously. Compatible with its mission to serve as advocate and resource for innovative organizations providing effective care and education to young people, NATSAP is raising its accreditation expectation for all members.
Navigating the road to accreditation requires an organization to commit to quality and safety improvement, focus on the unique needs of each person served and monitor the results of services. Achieving accreditation announces to the world that your organization strives to be the best it can be. It may involve hard work, but the process sets you on the course to cultivate a culture of excellence.
Organizations are best served to approach accreditation as an investment in their future. It helps to raise the bar internally and creates a more stable entity. Once achieved, an organization will have an opportunity to truly “live” accreditation by embracing and applying well-planned and clearly defined operational and program practices that will strengthen its ability to improve the lives of the people they serve.
Culture of Excellence
Without question, accreditation signals to potential funders, referral sources and parents that your organization adheres to high standards, internal cohesion and strives for exemplary service delivery.
Each accrediting body emphasizes the critical elements of performance improvement, risk management, financial controls, the rights of the persons served, and the health and safety for staff and persons served.
Gaining accreditation demonstrates your commitment to reach beyond the minimum licensing standards and maintain strong management, program consistency, financial controls, outcome measurements and continuous improvement.
Becoming accredited gives organizations professional recognition for achieving the highest standards in superior service delivery and provides clients and other key stakeholders an appropriate instrument for evaluating service provided.
Accreditation facilitates the provision of services derived from both evidence-based and leading practices by addressing access to, knowledge of and use of these practices. The on-site surveyors/reviewers bring with them years of experience and knowledge of evidence-based and leading practices observed in other organizations all over the country.
Other benefits include improved internal and external stakeholder communication and enriched staff training programs that, in part, lead to enhanced services.
Continuously improving organization-wide performance is the cornerstone of accreditation’s focus on safety and quality.
Accreditation focuses organizations on continuous quality improvement and on measurement of outputs and outcomes of deliverables, which both funders and stakeholders are increasingly demanding.
Accreditation provides a framework to review and improve the critical functions of your organization such as leadership, service delivery, human resources management, safety in your physical environment, emergency planning/preparation and information management.
Accreditation can be a portal into private insurance coverage of treatment and a necessity for federal and state funding.
Accreditation decreases risk due to the development of management plans, which in turn lowers liability. Liability insurers consider accreditation a mitigating risk factor which, in turn, can result in savings in liability insurance costs.
Roadmap to Accreditation
- Choose an accreditor – There are several factors to consider when selecting an accrediting body, including the fit with accreditation requirements, time necessary to become accredited and costs.
- Obtain a copy of the accreditation standards – Being familiar with the accreditation standards is critical to the selection and preparation process, especially when considering which of your staff will be involved and what documents are required.
- Decide whether to use a consultant – When it comes to navigating the accreditation process, hiring the right consultant can save time (and money).
- Conduct a gap analysis – This will provide information about accreditation readiness and identifies opportunities for compliance improvement.
- Implement new/enhanced policies, procedures and processes – All policies and procedures need to map to the accreditation standards, current operations and any other licensing or regulatory requirements.
- Undergo the survey – Accrediting body surveyors/reviewers are onsite at your organization to verify compliance with applicable standards. They will conduct interviews with staff/leadership and persons served, as well as review policies/procedures, facilities and make observations of service delivery.
- Fix any findings– Non-compliance areas identified by surveyors/reviewers need to be corrected.
- CELEBRATE AND PROMOTE YOUR ACCREDITATION!
Our Prepare for Greatness!™ Support
Accreditation Guru’s objective is to efficiently guide your organization through the (re)accreditation process via a systematic, customized, strategic approach that is designed to significantly lessen stress on your staff members and stakeholders throughout the accreditation process. Our foremost goal is to assist your organization in achieving accreditation in an efficient manner.
At Accreditation Guru, our team of experts have gained valuable and actionable experience in the field (average of twenty years national accreditation experience). They know exactly what the accrediting bodies are looking for and how best to compile organization data and information. Achieving accreditation is an involved process that can require your staff to spend less time on their day-to-day responsibilities. Using the support of an Accreditation Guru consultant ensures efficient time management with our consultants going beyond providing training functions by serving as sounding boards to answer questions from staff so no one is spinning their wheels and wasting time trying to figure out what the accreditation requirements mean.
Since our inception in 2009, Accreditation Guru has earned a 100 percent success rate for guiding organizations through the (re)accreditation process by offering the following services, among others:
- Onsite assessment and gap analysis
- Assistance with development of standards-compliant policies, procedures, and plans
- Quality improvement program design and training
- Risk management practices
- Mock surveys and survey preparation for staff
- Project management
- Assistance with your post-site-visit reports
- Annual accreditation maintenance plans
Far from being a chore, achieving accreditation has become a necessity for innovative organizations which devote themselves to society’s need for the effective care and education of struggling young people and their families. In addition to sending a definitive sign that quality and consistent professionalism permeate your organization’s culture, it offers tangible benefits that pay dividends every day.
Accreditation Guru, Inc. is a nationally known and respected accreditation consulting group. We can help your organization Prepare for Greatness™ through achieving initial accreditation or maintaining your current accreditation status.
We invite you to take our free Accreditation Readiness Assessment: www.AccreditationGuru.com/READY