The Vermont Department of Mental Health (DMH) administers a number of activities designed to ensure high-qualty mental health services that comply with State and Federal laws.
Quality services are services that are provided in a safe, effective, recipient-centered, timely, equitable, and recovery-oriented fashion.
The Department of Mental Health and its providers are committed to the ongoing improvement of the quality of care its consumers receive, as evidenced by the outcomes of that care. The Designated Agencies continuously strive to ensure that:
- The treatment provided incorporates evidence based, effective practices;
- The treatment and services are appropriate to each consumer’s needs, and available when needed;
- Risk to consumers, providers and others is minimized, and errors in the delivery of services are prevented;
- Consumers’ individual needs and expectations are respected; consumers – or those whom they designate – have the opportunity to participate in decisions regarding their treatment; and services are provided with sensitivity and caring;
- Procedures, treatments and services are provided in a timely and efficient manner, with appropriate coordination and continuity across all phases of care and all providers of care.
Quality Improvement Principles
Quality improvement is a systematic approach to assessing services and improving them on a priority basis. The (Name of Clinic) approach to quality improvement is based on the following principles:
- Customer Focus. High quality organizations focus on their internal and external customers and on meeting or exceeding needs and expectations.
- Recovery-oriented. Services are characterized by a commitment to promoting and preserving wellness and to expanding choice. This approach promotes maximum flexibility and choice to meet individually defined goals and to permit person-centered services.
- Employee Empowerment. Effective programs involve people at all levels of the organization in improving quality.
- Leadership Involvement. Strong leadership, direction and support of quality improvement activities by the governing body and CEO are key to performance improvement. This involvement of organizational leadership assures that quality improvement initiatives are consistent with provider mission and/or strategic plan.
- Data Informed Practice. Successful QI processes create feedback loops, using data to inform practice and measure results. Fact-based decisions are likely to be correct decisions.
- Statistical Tools. For continuous improvement of care, tools and methods are needed that foster knowledge and understanding. CQI organizations use a defined set of analytic tools such as run charts, cause and effect diagrams, flowcharts, Pareto charts, histograms, and control charts to turn data into information.
- Prevention Over Correction. Continuous Quality Improvement entities seek to design good processes to achieve excellent outcomes rather than fix processes after the fact.
- Continuous Improvement. Processes must be continually reviewed and improved. Small incremental changes do make an impact, and providers can almost always find an opportunity to make things better.
Continuous Quality Improvement Activities
Quality improvement activities emerge from a systematic and organized framework for improvement. This framework, adopted by the hospital leadership, is understood, accepted and utilized throughout the organization, as a result of continuous education and involvement of staff at all levels in performance improvement. Quality Improvement involves two primary activities:
- Measuring and assessing the performance of clinic services through the collection and analysis of data.
- Conducting quality improvement initiatives and taking action where indicated, including the
- design of new services, and/or
- improvement of existing services.