US&M first to meet new standards

Thursday, October 31, 2002

FLORISSANT, Mo. — Most of the rehab world got its first peek at the new rehab-specific accreditation standards of the Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC) in late October with the unveiling of the ACHC rehab accreditation manual at Medtrade.

United Seating & Mobility (US&M), however, got up close and personal with those standards this summer, achieving accreditation status from ACHC in August.

"When we started the process, we were using the old standards that were more generally applicable to HME, and finished up having used the new rehab standards," said Bob Guoy, president of Florissant, Mo.-based US&M. "As a business, we're used to shifting gears on the fly, so it didn't throw us off much."

"In fact, we were very happy to switch over to the new standards. We learned a lot and this was a very enjoyable experience—well, as enjoyable as any process can be when people are poking around your files and records," Guoy joked.

"We researched different accreditation organizations and found that the ACHC standards were more applicable to what we do in this market of rehabilitation technology," said Sarah Baker, CQI manager for US&M. "We also appreciated the fact that the ACHC surveyor who did the site visits had a background in rehab. He understood the business. That made it a more effective accreditation process because he really knew what to look for."

Guoy also appreciated the clarity that ACHC's rehab-specific standards brought to the process, and their ability to delineate very precisely which standards applied to seating and mobility and which did not.

"They were much more clear in their interpretations than other accrediting bodies, and they went out of their way to reduce the cycle times as much as they could," Guoy said. "But they were also very thorough. It wasn't an easy or 'soft' treatment by any means, but at least I feel it was fair." HME