Flawless Accreditation Report Celebrates Service Excellence

Flawless Accreditation Report Celebrates Service Excellence

Like the Olympics, the World Cup, and U.S. presidential elections, it only happens once every four years and it’s a big deal. For Mercy Home, none of the events mentioned above can match the anticipation of—and preparation for—a glowing review by our outside accreditors, the Council on Accreditation (COA). That’s because a successful accreditation is not only a requirement for our state licensure, it’s also a validation of our work to provide the best possible care to the young people and families who count on us.

Mercy Home President & CEO Fr. Scott Donahue is proud to announce that Mercy Home received a full report and formal acknowledgement of another flawless COA review. It was the ninth straight successful accreditation since independent, Washington DC based non-profit accrediting organization began reviewing Mercy Home every four years starting in 1992.

“I am proud beyond measure that we were not only reaccredited, but that once again our review met every single standard of accountability,” Fr. Scott said, “This is without a doubt a testament to the dedication and professionalism of my coworkers, the devoted stewardship of our boards, and the faithful support of our donors across the country who believe in this mission of God’s mercy.”

A COA accreditation is valid for four years and the renewal process is no small task. Roughly 18 months prior to expiration, our team begins to coordinate efforts, which include a self-study wherein we review a mountain of documentation related to all our practices. Once we submit our documentation, COA reviewers visit the Home to interview coworkers, board members youth, and guardians. The review culminates in an exit interview, followed by a final report and our official accreditation letter, which we received last week.

I am proud beyond measure that we were not only reaccredited, but that once again our review met every single standard of accountability.

– Fr. Scott

At their exit interview in February, COA reviewers summarized their observations and conclusions to a group of coworkers who had a hand in the review process. At that meeting, they described how impressed they were with so many facets of our operations, including the safety, cleanliness, and hominess of our living environment, our dedication to protecting client rights and privacy, our thoughtful intake process, our encouragement of family involvement in our young people’s care, our communication with our kids’ schools, the long-term impact of our work in Community Care and Friends First, and so much more. They also acknowledged the strong financial footing that the Home maintained, which enables innovation, responsiveness to youth needs, and our ability to make the best decisions for each person in our care. And they commended the work we do to ensure that our kids benefit from having access to the most qualified, motivated, trained, and supported staff.

One of the reviewers even dubbed Mercy Home “a well-oiled machine.” And while that assessment speaks to the efficiency of our operations, she also addressed the heart and soul of our work, calling it “life changing.” The other reviewer also thanked coworkers for all they do, remarking that everyone at the Home had a profound impact on people and communities we serve.

“It makes my heart smile when I hear your reflection and your experience at Mercy Home,” Fr. Scott told the reviewers, before offering his own reflections on the points that stood out to him, especially their notes on the culture at the Home, the sense of gratitude that pervades it, the care of our facilities and living environment of which everyone takes ownership, and the professionalism of our coworkers at every level.  “It’s a wonderful thing to be able to recognize what you have and be grateful for it, and then to build on it,” Fr. Scott said.

It makes my heart smile when I hear your reflection and your experience at Mercy Home.

– Fr. Scott

In March, COA President & CEO Jody Levison-Johnson informed Fr. Scott by email that Mercy Home had been reaccredited and that the process had been expedited due to our not having received any out-of-compliance ratings in any of the fundamental practice standards. Then last week, Fr. Scott received the formal letter confirming accreditation along with a full report that detailed the findings.

COA’s report lauded organizational strengths in 462 rating areas reviewed under three broad standards–administrative and management standards, service delivery administration standards, and service standards. Highlights include the following remarks:

  • The organization is to be commended for their strong and stable financial standing. This is accomplished through a Board that is committed to the fiscal wellbeing of the organization. The Finance department has seasoned professionals who have developed comprehensive systems capable of providing timely reports, internal controls, accountability, and forecasting.
  • The HR department is focused on mechanisms to attract and retain a stable, competent, and qualified workforce that achieves positive outcomes for the people Mercy Home serves. It was observed that employees have high morale and enjoy the work they do.
  • Mercy Home uses data to monitor, assess, and improve service delivery.
  • The health and safety of service recipients, guests, and staff are reflected in daily operations.
  • Mercy Home is committed to staff training as demonstrated by investing in a Training department that has well-qualified and passionate staff. … The organization fosters a “learning environment” and encourages advancement.
  • The Mercy Model of Care is trauma-responsive and competency-based, adopted from key research-driven frameworks. It aims to help youth build skills needed to feel safe and healthy and to lead productive lives within the community.
  • [Friends First’s corporate sponsored and community-based mentor programs] run smoothly and are assets to both the volunteer mentors and the mentees. All parties speak highly of the programs and the positive impact the mentors have on the youth in the program.

These are just a select few conclusions from the report.

In the letter accompanying the report, Levinson-Johnson said, “Let me again say how significant this achievement is! It represents the fulfillment of countless hours of hard work and the dedication of many people—most notably your staff and the members of your board and leadership. Please extend my congratulations to them.”

Fr. Scott said he was “terribly grateful” to every one of his coworkers for the roles they play each and every day and that are represented in this report. 

COA Accreditation, a service of Social Current, is an independent, not-for-profit accreditor of the full continuum of community-based behavioral health care and social service organizations in the United States and Canada. Its program of quality improvement is designed to identify providers, like Mercy Home, that have met high performance standards and have made a commitment to their stakeholders to deliver the very best quality services.

It’s a wonderful thing to be able to recognize what you have and be grateful for it, and then to build on it.

– Fr. Scott

COA’s accreditation process is an independent, objective, and reliable verification that organizations and programs qualify for the confidence and support of their stakeholders. It involves a detailed review and analysis of an organization’s or program’s administrative functions and service delivery practices. All are measured against international standards of best practice. 

These standards emphasize services that are appropriate, coordinated, culturally competent, evidence-based, and that are provided by a skilled and supported workforce. As a result, consumers, board members, funders, regulators, and staff can have confidence in the credibility, integrity, and achievement of the organization or program.

Accreditation provides a framework for an organization like Mercy Home to manage its resources, offer best practices, and strive for continuous improvement. This supports our sustainability, encourages our growth, and helps it to achieve measurable results.

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