Easter Seals Hawaii (ESH) recently underwent the important and comprehensive CARF accreditation process involving nearly every person associated within the organization – led by Melissa King-Hubert, Safety and Quality Assurance Manager and Jennifer Schemer-Lang, VP Programs and Services.
What is CARF?
CARF = Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities.
CARF is a non-profit organization that for more than 45 years developed and maintained current, field-driven standards that improve the value and responsiveness of programs and standards delivered to people in need of life enhancement services (from CARF Manual).
ESH first achieved accreditation in 2007; and every three years since. As an affiliate of Easter Seals national organization, ESH is required to pursue a third-party evaluation, and CARF is one of the accrediting bodies and with standards most relevant to the services provided by ESH.
Why is CARF accreditation important?
The CARF accreditation process is one of continuous improvement – to improve the outcomes for the organization and the persons served. The process is distinct from a compliance audit or contract monitoring. Attention to CARF standards should not be a once-every-three-year effort; rather the standards can be guidepost for what we do and how we might improve.
Most importantly, achieving CARF accreditation assures internal and external audiences or stakeholders that ESH maintains a culture of accountability AND improvement in both our business practices and services we provide.
In the fall of 2015, ESH submitted its application to continue accreditation by CARF (which would expire in May 2016). Almost immediately ESH began a “self-study” to review all program and business policies and procedures, to gather performance data, to update all records and files, and to educate staff about the Standards and the survey process.
Melissa convened multiple meetings of senior managers to review standards related to business practices. Melissa crafted a weekly “CARF Countdown” eNews to all Program Managers and Senior Staff – to help educate and inform and begin the process of gathering documentation to be submitted as part of the survey. All policies and procedures were reviewed and revised by staff in preparation for the surveyors visits.
The surveyors visited ESH April 27-29, 2016 with one administrative surveyor remaining at Green Street to review and discuss all business practices, consult with several Board members, meet with Senior Management, while the others visited program locations, reviewed records, met with families or other constituents/stakeholders, looked at vehicles, met with participants and staff, and learned about ESH.
At the exit or closing conference with all surveyors present, Senior Managers, Program Managers and others, ESH received preliminary recommendations from the surveyors.
As a result of this process, Easter Seals Hawaii is proud to be CARF-acredited for another 3 year term!