May, 2016 CQL Update, May 2016As you are no doubt aware, in April we successfully passed our 18 month review of accreditation by the Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL). Both because it has been a year and a half since our initial accreditation and because many newer staff may not be as aware as others as to what our journey has been, this might be a good time to review our journey so far.Why did we want to be accredited by an external agency?The system by which services are provided to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities is rapidly changing. It seems like almost every month there are new rules and regulations that change how we provide or document services. However, there is one thing that we can count on. As has been the case in other service delivery systems in New York State, our system is transforming from a Medicaid funded fee for service model to one of managed care in which we will contract with some type of managed care organization to provide services. For our agency to be successful in this transition, we will need to provide high quality services in a very competitive environment. Accreditation by a recognized body gives us a recognized symbol of quality.Why did we choose CQL?They are a great fit for us. Their “Personal Outcome Measures (POMs) fall into complete alignment with our values. CQL accreditation defines and measures quality of services in a manner that is consistent with the way we want to define quality.What is CQL?CQL has been in business for over 40 years and has provided international leadership in designing progressive practices in services for individuals with ID/DD. Based upon the principles of self-direction, community and personal quality of life, they have developed performance indicators and improvement methods. They provide consultation and education to build individual and organizational capacity for person centered excellence.What did the accreditation measure?CQL takes a three pronged approach to accreditation.By using “basic assurances,” CQL measures safety and security by asking if our systems and practices promote accountability and transparency. Are our systems and practices centered and linked? Basic assurances detail essential and non-negotiable requirements, while looking at the provision of safeguards from the individual’s perspective.Simultaneously, individuals are interviewed to determine what they want out of life. These “life journey conversations” are used to identify quality of life outcomes, plan supports for individuals and gather information and data about individual outcomes.Finally, through a weeklong onsite experience, CQL staff helped us to develop a four year plan to provide person-centered excellence in our services.Are there other local agencies who have been accredited?Yes. We are in very good company with several of the best agencies in the area. Wildwood, Schenectady ARC, the ARC of Rensselaer, Lexington, Liberty, and Columbia ARC are all also accredited by CQL.How long has this taken so far?On August 12, 2013 the agency informed CQL that we wanted to become accredited. At that time the Operations Committee began to review whether or not our services were in line with the 10 basic assurances. In March and July of 2014 our staff underwent Personal Outcome Measures interview training. In October, 2014 CQL staff spent a week with us for our certification review. We received the official accreditation paperwork in March, 2015. The 9 month review was held last June and our 18 month review was completed last month. We will start the accreditation process all over again in October of 2017.