Thursday, May 31, 2012

"One day at a time, one minute to the next, counting each breath."

I often think that to be busy is a gift. And clearly here at Sound Community Services we always seem to be busy-very busy! There is always some new grant to write for, some new innovation to explore, or some crisis to resolve. The ever present press of agency business occupies me and the management team and sometimes prevents us all, individually and collectively from appreciating the excellence around us and sometimes taking for granted those staff that consistently but quietly provide excellent service to their clients and the agency. Cynthia Ozick, reminds us, “When something does not insist on being noticed, when we aren’t grabbed by the collar or struck on the skull by a presence or an event, we take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.” Diane Loomis-Setts is that staff member who during her tenure here at Sound has made remarkable contributions including almost singlehandedly revitalizing our Intensive Outpatient program and now leading our Outpatient Program to a new level of excellence and innovation as Clinical Director. I have been remiss in taking her for granted and not expressing to her my gratitude and the gratitude of the Board of Directors.

     I was reminded of her quiet excellence in a letter that was sent to me by a client describing the impact our IOP program and Diane herself has had on her life. Let me share that letter with you.

“Dear Gail,

I am writing in order to explain to you just how much the Sound Community Services IOP program has saved my life. Although I have not battled substance abuse, physical abuse or many of the other issues so many in groups have, my life too, fell apart several years ago. I have been in and out of therapy my entire life for treatment of anxiety and depression and thus far no one has shown me how to survive it. I receive a diagnosis (always the same), some pills, and a band aid for the real issue at hand. After my bought with attempting and failing to commit suicide, I bounced from Lawrence and Memorial’s IOP program almost immediately over to Sound Community. It was there I can honestly say I found a part of myself. My path may never be clear and life will never be easy for me but knowing that I have a program to fall back on, support that will always be there and tools in a tool box to carry with me in a binder that is two inches wide, I feel I can get on my feet and try to move past some of the anguish and pain. Diane is one of the best therapists I have ever encountered. She saved me, when no one else noticed how deeply I was drowning. Her words resonate in my mind when things start to seem worse than they did the day before and I feel a relapse into my depression. She taught me that I am Amber; I am not my mental illness. She taught me that I am blessed to have the ability, whether I like it or not, to look inside myself and delve deep into Amber to learn her ins and outs in a way that “mainstream” folds will never get o, or will never have to. For this I know I will always be different than others, but maybe that’s not such a bad thing. Maybe I will know how to voice what I need when I need it instead of struggling to find the works and needs to satisfy what I am feeling. Since I graduated from IOP I have not been the same person. Although I would not say I am “better”, I would say I am stronger. I have a better sense of myself and what I need to do to be successful. I know that I need to keep going, if not for me than for those around me. I won’t give up, I can’t. There are many mornings I wake up sad just at the thought that I have woken up to face yet another day, but I hear Diane’s voice and remember to breathe, meditate and go back to my tool box so that I can get up and have a productive day, even if that means just brushing my teeth and showering. Thanks to Sound Community, I finally feel like I have learned to live again. One day at a time, one minute to the next, counting each breath. Thank you for providing our community with this wonderful program.



So please take a moment to acknowledge and appreciate the excellence around you!

Be well!


Thursday, January 26, 2012

"First Fire All the Managers"

There is a very famous line in Shakespeare’s Henry VI. “The first thing we do,” said Jack Cade, one of Shakespeare’s more memorable and treacherous characters, “is to kill all the lawyers.” Oftentimes you will see this quote used to deride lawyers and the work that lawyers do. Gary Hamel’s ( Gary Hamel ) recent December, 2011 article in the Harvard Business Review, “First Fire All the Managers” seems to echo Jack Cade’s sentiment focusing on mangers instead of lawyers. Hamel’s article suggests that managers are unnecessary to an organization and that “management is the least efficient activity in (your) organization” citing information about a tomato processing company in Florida that only has one manager-the CEO. Hamel’s proposition in a nutshell is that we should move toward organizations where there are no managers – where people manage themselves. Hamel says "By making the mission the boss and truly empowering people, the company creates an environment where people can manage themselves."

     As you might imagine this article has generated lots of comment on the HBR ( Harvard Business Review ) website as well as on the Open Minds website ( http://www.openminds/     Open Minds is a Pennsylvania based company that provides information about behavioral health and offers a wide range of staff development and consulting services to organizations like ours. We regularly attend conferences and seminars offered by what is recognized as one of the best sources of training and development in our field.). Until yesterday I had followed the discussion on the Open Minds website with primarily academic interest. Many behavioral health professionals had offered opinions on the article and the discussion was quite varied and interesting.

     Yesterday, however, my interest left the academic realm and entered the personal realm. Yesterday I was confronted by one of our clinicians who challenged me to fire Sound’s managers. Her comments implied that the managers offered little to our organization and that the organization would be far better off, as would our clients, without a management team. Her comments have made me re-examine both the premise of Hamel’s article and my own beliefs about the roles of managers, including my own, in our organization. So exactly what is the role of the management team here at Sound- what is their value, if any, to the organization? What contributions have been made? Was that challenging clinician right, could the organization survive without managers? Here are my answers to those thought-provoking questions.

Sound Community Services is an organization governed by a set of complex rules and regulations from many sources including a wide variety of federal and state laws, regulations from the Department of Health, Center for Medicaid and Medicare, Board of Pharmacy, Blue Cross & Blue Shield and other third party payers, the City of New London Building and Zoning department and a myriad of others. Hundreds of pages of rules and regulations and several contracts define almost every aspect of what we do and how we do it. Failure to meet or even mere ignorance of these rules and regulation can have and has had very real and serious consequences for Sound. For example in the last year we had to return several thousand dollars to Medicare due to a failure to follow exactly CMS billing regulations.

So how should we assure that we “follow all these externally imposed rules and regulations?” Should we hold individual staff members fully responsible for knowing and abiding by all the hundreds of regulations that govern the work we do? Should staff be responsible to “police” themselves or their colleagues? I think any reasonable person would agree that the answer to that question should be “No.”   No one person could be expected to know everything they should know about every aspect of our business.  Those staff charged with providing direct services to clients should focus on providing quality service and should not be concerned with what many would consider mundane, i.e., assuring that the First Aid kit meets DPH regulations or that the fire extinguishers are inspected monthly. Does it really matter if those mundane and so-called non-essential tasks are done- well, perhaps not in a perfect world where everything goes as it should. But the one time you may need that fire extinguisher to work properly so you can put out a fire or you may need the tourniquet in the First Aid kit to stop someone from bleeding out and it does not work or it is missing may change your mind on the importance or need of the manager charged with making sure those things are done and done right. I could certainly give you hundreds of examples of what the managers here at Sound do to assure that the services we provide are the best possible, but clearly one of their essential roles, but not their only role, is to know what should be done, make sure that what needs to be done is done when it is supposed to be done so that we can continue to provide the best possible services to those who need our help. Each manager here at Sound has an area of responsibility that relates to meeting the rules, regulations and contracts that govern how and to whom we provide services.

None of us should ever underestimate the importance of the managers who supervise that work we do and how they contribute to the overall success of the organization in providing services to those who need services. While the line staff actually may perform the tasks, the manager is charged with making sure that those assigned to carry out the tasks have the skills, tools and training to actually perform the tasks successfully and do so within the rules and regulations that govern us. Think of the manger as a coach- he/she may not step onto the field and play but he/she is responsible for creating and maintaining a winning team! And here, as it is in life in general, it is the manager who loses his or her job when the team performs poorly! Think of Terry Francona, the most recent manager of the Red Sox, who despite his brilliance was fired. It was Francona the manager and not JD Drew the player who lost his job even though Drew had never performed as he should! The manager was held responsible!

So what exactly did Shakespeare mean when he had the character of Jack Cade, a plotter of treachery, utter the phrase, “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” Jack was seeking to eliminate those who would stand in the way of chaos and lawlessness- the lawyers. So when Hamel suggests that an organization can run without the people who are responsible for making sure what needs to get done does get done I must disagree, at least from the perspective of our highly regulated and complex field. And while Sound has plotted a more middle ground in expecting both leadership and management competency from its managers, the ability to assure that a program or an individual staff member meets all the necessary regulatory requirements is a necessary although not sufficient condition of their employment. Management is not leadership but good leadership requires good management as a prerequisite condition. So let’s not kill all the lawyers or fire all the managers.  Both lawyers and managers play an important role in assuring that there is order and  accountability.

Be well,


Monday, December 5, 2011

" NO Room, NO Room said the March Hare and the Mad Hatter"

Each year as I prepare for the holiday season, I can’t help but notice the ever increasing presence of the materialism that is too often overwhelming our holiday traditions. Whether it’s the people camping out at storefronts on Thanksgiving eve in order to be the first in the stores on black Friday or the over-decorated shopping malls “selling” an ersatz Christmas spirit tied to an ever increasing consumerism, I believe that this focus on spending and consumption is somehow at odds with the financial reality of life for so many in our society.  Moreover, it seems totally incongruent considering the apparent lack of social justice that exists in our country and state and the difficulties that many of those we serve face on a daily basis.  Despite the fact that the United States is the richest country in the world and Connecticut is the richest state in the country there are so many people who because of mental illness or other unfortunate circumstances are forced to lead very marginal lives.  It does seem to me, given the unimaginable wealth that there is here in the United States, that we should be able to afford everyone in this country a decent place to live, enough food to eat, healthcare and meaningful work.  I am always sad that as a country we lack the will to do just that and that there are very many people who begrudge the least among us those things that most of us take for granted.

This is the third in a series of blogs that discuss our company culture.  This aspect of our company culture, our willingness to insist that those we serve deserve to live their lives as fully as possible and be recognized as citizens entitled to all of the rights of citizenship was addressed best by comments given by Cheryl Jacques, Chief  Executive Officer of the Southeastern Mental Authority.  I want to share with you now a portion of those comments made at the 2010 Board of Directors Annual Meeting where Ms. Jacques was the keynote speaker.  This past year, I have often thought about her remarks that evening.  Her comments eloquently remind us that we as human service professionals must always be able to identify with those we serve and insist that our society give to all of its citizens all of the benefits of citizenship.  Such awareness helps us assure we are doing the very best we can to help those with behavioral health needs recover and integrate into their communities.  Ms. Jacques said that evening:

 “It is my honor and privilege to speak with you this evening.  SMHA and SCS has enjoyed a long history of collaboration together – I want to recognize the outstanding and creative leadership you have at SCS.

I have worked for the past ten years in New London County and most recently as the CEO of SMHA. Prior to my experience in metal health I was a nurse in cardiac research in Boston. I continue to maintain an interest in issues of physical health and wellness. I am interested in how we can educate and influence those with serious mental health issues towards improving their own physical health. Recently, we hosted a NAMI meeting at SMHA and we asked those members how they measure a family member’s progress towards their recovery with mental illness. Surprising, to us, the family members cited an improvement in a loved one’s physical appearance and physical health as the first sign of progress toward their recovery from mental illness.  

The other thing you should know about me is that I am an avid fan of Alice in Wonderland, so much so that prior to graduate school I traveled to Oxford, England where Dobson, or Lewis Caroll the author of Alice in Wonderland, was a professor of mathematics.  The actual bakery that is referenced in Alice in Wonderland sits on a quiet street nestled among three or four shops and to the left of this group of shops is a wide open grassy area that leads down to a canal. You can actually sit on the bank and look down at the water, just as Alice and her sister sat with their books at the beginning of the story.  While sitting down on the grass, you can also look up and over to the left, across the street, to a group of cold grey stone buildings that are laden with ivy. These are the buildings of Oxford University.

So as you know, Alice got up from the bank that day and followed the white rabbit. While running after him, she fell into a hole tumbling down into the darkness, down, down, down – I believe that image resonates with each one of us who at any time can feel as though up is down, down is up and everything is moving sideways – but we need to always remember to identify with those we serve who are impoverished and in great need - that the end to such a fall may never come - at least not without services and supports. There is not one of us who has ever faced a difficult situation that we did not turn to another for advice or help. 

So to begin, I quote; “There was a table set out under a tree in front of the house, and the March Hare and the Hatter were having tea at it: a Doormouse was sitting between them, fast asleep, and the other two were resting their elbows on it, and talking over its head.  “Very uncomfortable for the Doormouse,” thought Alice, “only as it’s asleep, I suppose it doesn’t mind.”
The table was a large one, but the three were all crowded together at one corner of it.  “No room! No room!” they cried out when they saw Alice coming.  “There’s plenty of room!” said Alice indignantly, and she sat down in a large arm-chair at one end of the table.
“I didn’t know it was your table,” said Alice:  “it’s laid for a great many more than three.”

This is our metaphor for this evening. We are together at the table – a large table, making room for others to join our partnership. The table does not belong to anyone of us individually.  As I share my ideas with you this evening, I want to focus on the care and concern of those with mental illness; and our shared fight to end homelessness in New London County.

We used to refer to the issue of having a serious and persistent mental illness as a problem with stigma. That we needed to educate more regarding recovery and highlight those successful individuals having a mental illness as being the norm; in order to challenge the stigma against mental illness. But it is not “stigma’ it is really about discrimination – and we need to label it for what it is and we need to look to these individuals as being discriminated against in our communities. Does an individual lose their housing because of the symptoms of their illness, or are they evicted reasonably in response to actual inappropriate behaviors? As the providers, we need to know the difference and when it is appropriate to advocate with law and public policy changes. “
So as you all join  your family and friends this Christmas season, let us be mindful of these we serve and let’s remember what Alice said when confronted with  “No room!, No Room!   “There’s plenty of room!” said Alice indignantly, and she sat down in a large arm-chair at one end of the table."

My very best wishes to you all this Christmas season.


Be well!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Run to the Roar

Complex ideas are better explained, understood and remembered via stories.  In my days as a professor at Rhode Island College I always found that when I could convey something via a story my students seemed to understand and remember and often they were entertained as well.  This is the second in a series of blogs examining our agency culture.
This blog discusses a metaphor that the management team often uses when dealing with a difficult or crisis situation.  So I hope you  enjoy this little tale about a pride of lions hunting for dinner!

"I've heard this told as true it sure sounds like it could be.  I've heard, when a pride of lions are trying to catch their prey, they have a  very well thought-out plan.  What these wise animals do, of course working together, is to place the oldest, fiercest "sounding" lions at one side of a path frequented by antelope- a favorite meal for our pride of lions.  These old lions are well past their prime and are really no threat at all to their potential victims. Their teeth are old and worn out and they can't run very fast anymore either!  But they can do one thing-  they can roar- loud and fierce! Well now comes dinner bounding down the path-  a tender little antelope or other delicate morsel.   The fierce sounding  lions-  the ones with no teeth and the ones that can't run very fast  begin to roar ferociously with all their might.  The antelope, hearing the roaring stop dead in their tracks,  and run in the opposite direction-  They are of course trying to escape from the threat.   The remainder of the  pride,  the young lions, sharp of tooth and fleet of foot,  sit quietly waiting for the the silly antelope to run right to them. The antelope run away from the roar and become dinner!  Safety would have resulted from running TO the roar!"

The moral of this story  is really  quite simple.  Even though it is easier and definitely more comfortable to take the  path  away from the the roaring lions and avoid what might be difficult-  and "roaring lions" occur in  all of our lives- never, ever, blindly shy away or deny what is painful, difficult, frightening or unpleasant. Safety and  most oftentimes the success of some endeavor will result when you "run to the roar"- when you embrace the terrifying situation that is confronting you. As an agency we have often chosen to  "run to the roar."  When I tell this story I am often reminded of Terry Keyes and the the clients who stood with her and filed the discrimination lawsuit and fought for the rights of those we serve when First Step was denied its zoning permit for the old Truman Street building. They "ran to the roar" and refused to be cowered by the ill will of many New London citizens.  And just to be clear , while we never did occupy the Truman Street building,  it was her actions  and the support of those clients who were willing to face the ROAR of the New London Planning and Zoning  Commission public hearings and file the subsequent federal lawsuit that eventually resulted in our ability to purchase and occupy  our wonderful new building and Oasis Center. The moral of this story is:  don't give up your lunch money so easily- face the bully,  fight the fight,- or in other words, Run to the Roar. You will often find that the lion is indeed toothless!

Very best wishes to you all on this Thanksgiving.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Who Are We?

It has been an extremely busy summer- new buildings, a new program, many new staff, a hurricane and even an earthquake, an unexpected resignation and of course, the ongoing drama associated with the State of Connecticut budget and the threats to non-profit funding.  And these are just a few of the items that have demanded attention of the management team this summer!    With all of these things happening, it was very easy to get "lost in the weeds!"  But several interesting things have happened in the last several weeks that made me step back and reflect on who we are as an agency and how our corporate culture has affected the quality of the service we provide and the perception of our agency in the community.  So what exactly is corporate culture and what is the SCSI corporate culture?

Twenty years ago, no one talked about a company or agency culture.  For most people "culture" had to do with nationality or referred to the arts- you were "cultured" if you liked Beethoven or English literature for example.  Today we use the concept of culture to define a set of beliefs that govern what we value as an agency and govern what we do as professionals who work within that agency.

The first of these events was a request from L&M Hospital to participate in a series of interviews examining the quality and status of behavioral health services here in New London.  The consultants performing these interviews were from Maine and I was one of the last CEO's interviewed.  They had spoken to many other providers in the area and they had several questions about Sound Community Services and the work we do and the way we do it.  In addition to their questions they also commented to me about the information that many others had provided about the services we deliver and asked me to react to the comments that other providers had made.  In a nutshell what they said that many other providers in our area consider us to be the leader in providing community based care for individuals who are extremely ill!   I must admit, while I appreciated their kind words, I took their comments with more than a few grains of salt. Similarly, when a recently hired staff member who had worked for us a few years ago shortly after the merger of First Step and IBH stopped me in the hall and commented about how well run the agency was compared to the first few post-merger months, I was pleased of course.  And a few weeks ago we were visited by several staff of a substance abuse agency from Chicago who was interested in our use of Carelogic to support the provision of clinical services.  A few days later a received a note from one of the visiting team who had been a CEO for many years and who had worked in many mental health agencies that  complemented  us on  demonstrating the best clinical practices she had ever seen!  And while I recognize that I and many others have worked very hard to shape Sound Community Services, I did not give these comments much additional thought until the article about the OASIS Center and our Social Rehab Program appeared in The Day (New London Day: An 'oasis' for the mentally ill).  I hope you all read the article but more importantly I hope you read the comments  posted by  readers that accompanied the article   And what really made me begin to reflect on who we are as an agency- our corporate culture if you will- were the comments that were posted in response to that article.

For those of you new to our agency, there was a time that any mention of First Step in the newspaper would result angry letters to the editor about the people we serve and how our agency did not belong in New London.  At times, during the many meetings that we attended with the New London Planning and Zoning Commission as we sought to find a new building to house our agency my was breath was taken away by the vehemence of the hate speech that was directed  at our agency and the people we serve when it came time for public comment.  This time the comments from the public about the relocation of Oasis to Bank Street and our purchase of 21 Montauk however every comment that was published was unfailingly positive about the very good work we do and the importance of the services we provide to the community.  I believe that the SCSI corporate culture, which has changed and evolved since the old First Step/IBH  days, has been the determining factor in this change.

This is the first of three blogs about who we are as an agency and how we have brought our agency to the place of excellence we now hold- a discussion of our corporate culture if you will.  I invite your participation in that discussion. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Two Very Special People 2011

“Excellence is a talent or quality which is unusually good and so surpasses ordinary standards. It is also an aimed for standard of performance.”  Donna Millette-Fridge exemplified excellence in the service of those who are challenged by mental illness.  Her dedication to those we serve and the contributions she made to First Step  provide the benchmarks by which we judge the quality of our own work.  

Each year the Board of Directors of Sound Community Services accepts nominations for the Donna Millette-Fridge Memorial Award.  For those of you who did not know Donna, she was a First Step employee for many years, her last position was as the Director of Employment Services.  Donna was preparing for her promotion to Associate Director at First Step at the time of her tragic and untimely death. Let me tell you about Donna.

Donna epitomized the values of social  work!  She always exhibited a very strong work ethic, strong leadership, and was an advocate for all of our clients. Donna's special interest was in young people experiencing behavioral health challenges who would be transitioning from their high school years into adulthood where many would be unprepared to face the stigma associated with mental illness which so many of our clients must deal with on a daily basis. She had dedicated her life to helping those young people become productive members of the community.

Donna was admired and respected by her clients and her colleagues. Shortly after her tragic death the Connecticut Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers posthumously awarded to Donna a Lifetime Achievement Award.  Upon the presentation of that award it was noted that, " Her social work colleagues saw in Donna woman who lived the values of social work. She had a vision that one day individuals with psychiatric disabilities would be fully integrated into society and have available to them the same opportunities and benefits we all enjoy.  Her belief in, energy and enthusiasm for individuals with psychiatric disabilities to become productive members of society were contagious and inspired coworkers throughout her agency. agency."  Donna was the "founding" member of  the Sound Community Services "aristocracy." And after her death our Board of Directors established an award in her name- the Donna Millette-Fridge Memorial Award.

The Donna Millette-Fridge Memorial Award is the most important award that Sound Community Services gives as it acknowledges the work of an employee who demonstrates the values that Donna brought to her work.  Each year the Board of Directors receives many nominations for several wonderful and committed employees.  Each year the Board of Directors looks to find that special employee who has demonstrated the dedication and commitment that made Donna so special.  In nominating this year’s winner December Heffernan wrote,

“Anyone who has met Karen Chalecki quickly realizes that working on behalf of the population served by Sound Community Services, Inc. is not simply a job, but a calling.  I first met Karin during my orientation to homeless outreach in August 2009.   The days we spent together were filled quickly as Karin introduced me to colleagues at a myriad of other agencies, educated me about the resources in the community, taught me about the processes for applying for numerous benefits, showed me how and where to venture off the street and into the woods and demonstrated for me the art  of outreach to a population that is often overlooked.  It was not uncommon for us to forget it was lunchtime or to look at the clock and recognize that the day needed to end, although the work would continue tomorrow.  Karin is naturally inclined to continue to work until her goals have been accomplished.  To say that Karin has a strong work ethic would be an understatement.
In the year and half following my orientation, I regularly looked to Karin for direction, knowing she would always have the best interests of the person served at heart.  She would always try to “think outside of the box” for individuals who were encountering obstacles in their lives and work collaboratively and creatively to advocate for them.  Watching Karin engage with some of the most difficult clients was something I learned a great deal from and borrowed for my own work.  I will never forget talking with Karin outside the Homeless Hospitality Center when she stated that this work was a “lesson in humanity.”  Karin’s compassion for our persons served is very real!
I have come to know that Karin’s drive comes from her passion and dedication to her work.  Karin has an amazing amount of energy, a wealth of knowledge, an unsurpassed commitment to the needs of our persons served, and an unrivaled passion for advocacy.   Her work is guided by the ethics and values shared by the late Donna Millette-Fridge.”
 I am pleased that once again the work and commitment of another member of the Sound Community Services family has been recognized by our Board of Directors.  Karin Chalecki joins Donna Millette-Fridge as a member of Sound Community Services'  "aristocracy.”  Please join me in thanking Karin for her work on behalf of those we serve and congratulate her as the winner of  2011 Donna Millette-Fridge Memorial Award.

Monday, May 23, 2011

If There Were No Standards, We Would Soon Notice!

We are beginning our one year “countdown” to our CARF accreditation visit. Our visit will occur sometime  in the spring of 2012.   Today Tracey Hauser shares her thoughts about accreditation and what  accreditation  brings to SCSI.

Be Well!


The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) states that,
                “If there were no standards, we would soon notice.”  

How true that is.  With regard to behavioral healthcare, SCSI follows numerous business and healthcare standards designed to guide the services we deliver.  As a DMHAS funded agency, we provide recovery-focused services.  As a Department of Public Health licensed provider, we comply with licensing requirements in our outpatient clinics and respite program.  And as a CARF accredited provider, (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) we conform to CARF’s comprehensive behavioral healthcare standards. 
“With the rapid changes and advances in rehabilitation for mental health as well as alcohol and other addiction and substance abuse treatments, CARF's behavioral health standards reflect leadership in the field internationally.” –
CARF Standards address not only direct service programming, but general program oversight and administrative functions within organizations.  CARF, like SCSI, believes that persons served have the right to be treated with dignity and respect and should be empowered to exercise informed choice.  CARF uses a consultative approach to accreditation – promoting quality services and recovery outcomes. 
Accreditation is a process in which certification of competency, authority, or credibility is presented.  Sound Community Services proudly boasts 14 years as a CARF accredited behavioral healthcare provider.  As we enter our 15th year, we approach our next CARF Accreditation Survey.  SCSI has successfully achieved a three-year accreditation following each of our previous surveys.   In the spring of 2012, SCSI will once again have the opportunity to renew our accreditation standing with CARF.
CARF employs professionals in the behavioral health care field as surveyors.  A CARF surveyor’s mission is to establish an agency’s conformance with the most current CARF behavioral health standards.  In the past, SCSI has been assigned three surveyors per survey visit.  CARF survey visits here at SCSI last for three days.  The first two days, surveyors are on-site all day, meeting with staff, talking with persons served and viewing program locations.  The third day, the surveyors finalize any remaining questions regarding conformance and hold an exit conference to share general findings.  The final CARF accreditation decision is made by CARF International, based on the survey team’s recommendations, and sent to the agency within 6 weeks.  Through CARF’s consultative approach to survey accreditation, SCSI has always fared well and learned much through the survey process.  To learn more about CARF, the survey process, and which SCSI programs are accredited, please visits the Quality Care site from the SCSI Start Page.

Tracy Hauser, LCSW