Autism Commission on Quality (ACQ) 2023 Accreditation

By Jill Forte
December 8, 2023

Autism Commission on Quality LogoAccreditation in healthcare is “paramount to ensuring safe, effective, and high-quality patient care” (LaPelusa & Bohlen, 2023).  Accreditation involves a comprehensive assessment of organizations, including a review of their policies, procedures, and overall performance, to verify their alignment with nationally recognized standards.  Accreditation also provides organizations with “a roadmap to identify and correct areas for improvement”( LaPelusa & Bohlen, September, 2023).

In 2022, CASP founded the Autism Commission on Quality (ACQ) to “establish and promote organizational standards that improve the quality, effectiveness, and outcomes of ABA services for individuals and families impacted by autism. ACQ’s vision is for all recipients of applied behavior analysis services to reach their full potential through access to organizations offering the highest level of care” (About – Autism Commission on Quality (ACQ)

ACQ is dedicated to improving the impact of ABA services for the autism community through both education and accreditation of ABA agencies.  While CAC currently holds accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) as well. Founded in 1966, CARF is a broader look at our organization through the lens of rehab facilities.  We are required as a Medicaid waiver provider to achieve CARF accreditation, but CARF does not offer ABA agency specific feedback while ACQ does.

The months long process of ACQ accreditation included submission of our policies, de-identified incident reports and other documents, and our manuals (HR, Employee, Parent).  The ACQ portal has nine different subject areas (Business Operations, Clinical Personnel, Clinical Operations, Patient Protections, Quality Assurance, Ethics, etc.) where a number of questions were posed to determine how our agency is structured and how policies are applied. This submission was followed by an interview with our leadership team to answer questions and clarify any policy, procedure, or application the ACQ committee had questions on.  Two of our Clinical Supervisors (BCBAs) were also interviewed by the ACQ team.  The Clinical Supervisors were asked to show via video a treatment protocol with a client.  Questions on the treatment protocol were asked of the Clinical Supervisor.  Families and staff were surveyed by ACQ on a variety of questions specific to either services or employment. Finally, a meeting was held to answer final questions from all of the submissions.

On November 20, 2023, CAC was notified that we had passed the process of assessment and were awarded a two-year accreditation with ACQ!  We also received constructive feedback on how to improve.

When we made the decision to deploy resources to seeking ACQ accreditation, it was the benchmarks/standards and feedback that we deemed most valuable.  The ACQ accreditation is an indicator that we are meeting the high standards of an accrediting body specific to our field, and the feedback and benchmarks are a guide to how we can continue to meet those high standards.  It is part of our mission statement that we provide ‘the highest quality treatment’ we possibly can.  We understand the need for efficient and effective care and continuing to ask how we can do better is how we get there.

We are thankful to each of you who took the time to provide feedback to ACQ.  We are also grateful to the ACQ team for taking the time to teach and guide CAC on how to do better.  The bottom line is that we believe accreditation is how we provide the best care we possibly can to the families who trust us with their children.  We will always continue to seek ways we can improve and accreditation is a solid standard from which to begin.

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