Auditing: The importance of measuring performance and quality

When you hear the term ‘audit,’ do you think of quality, excellence, readiness, effectiveness and other positives?

Here at Comprehensive Healthcare, that’s exactly how we view audits – as important opportunities to evaluate the rigor of our systems and identify ways that we can serve our clients and communities even better.

Over the past several weeks, our evaluation and treatment facilities and residential programs participated in routine auditing by several agencies, including the Washington State Department of Health, Department of Social and Health Services, and Greater Columbia Behavioral Health Administrative Service Organization.

Regulators performed a compliance audit, which focused on our adherence to state and federal policies and procedures, trainings and mandatory reporting, among other requirements. Our teams also underwent a clinical audit, which focused on the quality of our services, treatment documentation, member rights, initial evaluations, individualized treatment plans, ongoing treatment and coordination of care.

The regulations and standards we are measured against lay the framework for how we operate our programs – not just during audits, but every day. We do not have to prepare for an audit; our practices and protocols keep us ready.

We welcome the time with auditors to test and share feedback on our readiness. Their observations and recommendations help us ensure compliance with the latest regulations and highlight discrepancies between standards and actual practice to identify changes and improve quality. They also can over a quick snapshot of whether there is an underlying problem that needs further investigation.

Our most recent exercises yielded a few areas of improvement, including:
• Capturing the duration time of a treatment session in the inpatient and residential settings
• Enhancing documentation around discharges

Auditors’ comments also reinforced areas of strength:
• Staff are caring and professional
• Quality services are being provided
• Personnel records looked great
• Impressed with the overall look and upkeep of the facilities

At Comprehensive Healthcare, we have the opportunity to provide treatment to individuals during what might be the most vulnerable time in their life. When an individual takes that step, we want them and their family or support network to know they will be given the possible care. Rules and regulations matter because each person that comes through our door matters – and we are committed to auditing and excellence because everyone deserves excellent care.

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