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Ensuring Excellence in Care and Customer Service

July 21, 2014

The Importance of Accreditation and Quality Measurement

It is very important for behavioral healthcare organizations to be accredited. Individuals and families should not consider a treatment program that is not accredited by a nationally recognized evaluation organization. Further, most insurance companies in the U.S. will not contract with an organization that is not accredited.

Beyond accreditation, understanding how an organization measures the quality and effectiveness of its treatment services, as well as how they value and evaluate their interactions with clients and families, may help you determine if the organization is likely to meet your expectations for a quality treatment program.

The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval

Accreditation by The Joint Commission, the nation’s top evaluator of hospitals and healthcare providers, is the foundation for Skyland Trail’s system-wide focus on excellence. The Joint Commission is the oldest and largest accrediting organization, evaluating more than 20,000 healthcare organizations in the U.S. Accreditation by The Joint Commission is nationally and internationally recognized as a symbol of quality. Skyland Trail received our seventh consecutive Gold Seal of Approval accreditation from The Joint Commission in 2013.

To maintain our accreditation, we receive an unscheduled visit from a Joint Commission evaluator every three years. The evaluator examines the entire patient care experience, from admission to discharge. He or she speaks with staff from across the organization – from our primary counselors to our CEO – and examines records to ensure that we appropriately document the treatment provided and the resulting outcomes. The evaluator also collects feedback from patients and family members and scrutinizes our treatment model to ensure that we are effectively using evidence-based therapies to help out patients improve their symptoms and functioning and return their communities. He or she also closely inspects our facilities and grounds and decision-making processes to ensure patients are protected from potential safety risks.

We are proud to consistently receive very positive reports from Joint Commission evaluations, and we use any constructive feedback we receive as an opportunity for continued improvement. But we don’t stop there. At Skyland Trail, we strive not only to meet, but also to exceed these national standards

Raising the Bar: Striving for Excellence

The Joint Commission national standards provide a baseline of care, but we strive to provide premier treatment and service. Our Performance Improvement Committee further ensures excellence in treatment by reviewing performance outcome measures, identifying successes and shortcomings, and developing responses for those areas.

Because the Committee includes a broad range of administrative and clinical staff involved in client care from admission to discharge, problems are solved through a multidisciplinary, client-centered approach. And when something works well, we can work to replicate that success in other areas across the organization. The Committee also develops annual performance stretch goals to ensure that we continue to improve our performance year over year.

At a higher level, our Board of Directors approves our annual Performance Improvement and carefully reviews data related to our quality and performance indicators.

The Skyland Trail Experience

Outside of the clinical setting, Skyland Trail has a set of high standards for customer service. We track specific interactions with families to ensure that families know what to expect and receive appropriate and timely information about their loved one’s progress while in treatment. We follow up with families after their loved one completes treatment  to collect feedback on what worked well and where they saw room for improvement. We take that feedback very seriously and work across departments to develop and implement action plans to make the Skyland Trail experience the best it can be for clients and their families.

Skyland Trail involves all of our staff in the development and implementation of performance improvement and quality assurance plans. The focus starts at the top with the commitment of our board and executive team to ensuring that Skyland Trail consistently demonstrates excellence and continues to perform as one of the nation’s top psychiatric treatment programs. But each and every professional at Skyland Trail is committed to providing the best possible care for our clients and their families. We can see that our approach is effective through our robust outcomes measurement program, as well as through the many success stories of our clients as they return to their families, lives and futures.