Three Corners Health Services Society ranks high among community health agencies said accreditation surveyor Peter Vlahos.
“It’s been a leader in community health and wellness for a long time.”
The organization provides community-based health care services for Secwépemc community members and incorporates both traditional and contemporary practices. They have been adding to the services they provide since they first became accredited around 2009.
Accreditation is an external peer-reviewed process, whereby other health care organizations and practitioners visit and assess what the group is doing and provide feedback on both positive results as well as areas to improve. Accredited health care providers meet certain key indicators in different areas.
The process and the accreditation itself helps with professional recruitment and retention, said Vlahos and builds trust in the organization for funders as well.
“To invite a third party in to scrutinize all aspects of operations … shows confidence,” explained Vlahos, who has been doing accreditation surveys for over 10 years.
“It’s a whole new learning curve,” said Stacey Isaac, who was the Three Corner’s accreditation team lead this round.
Isaac had been involved before but some of the process had changed and leading the process was more involved, in addition to her normal job as nurse manager.
She said the staff did an excellent job but they are still waiting to find out if they have met all of their goals for accreditation.
“It’s all about quality improvement. How do we improve what we do so that our clients get the best care,” said Isaac.
Lori Sellars, the society’s executive director, started working for the society in 2014 and has been through two of the four accreditation processes the society has completed.
She said she has seen improvements to access to primary care for their clients, with a nurse practitioner and a primary care physician now working with the society.
Sellars said the process of accreditation helps continually improve all aspects of their services, including the relationships with the communities it serves and their clients, and the relationships with funders.
Clinical counsellor access has also improved, with additional counsellors to support their service communities.
The society also now has access to a lab technician, a pharmacist, a physiotherapist and other health practitioners who travel to communities to provide support. The society used to work with a massage therapist as well but is now looking for a replacement to provide that service.
The in-town clinic houses the nurses, the medical transportation program to help members travel to specialist appointments or treatment, and a Jordon’s Principle program coordinator to help support health and social services for children.