Goodwill-Easter Seals gets highest level of accreditation from CARF

Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota learned last week that the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) has given them another three-year accreditation, their highest level of accreditation. Goodwill-Easter Seals has maintained continuous CARF accreditation since 1977.

Every three years Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota goes through the CARF accreditation process. For two or three days several CARF surveyors thoroughly evaluate the organization on over 1,300 standards.

Goodwill-Easter Seals’ Linda Fox and Robin Hemenway played a key part in this year’s CARF evaluation process. Robin worked on coordinating CARF’s evaluation of Goodwill-Easter Seals’ services and programs, while Linda’s focus was on the administrative aspects of the process.

“Continuous improvement is one of our organizational values,” Linda remarks. “CARF is one of the tools we have that helps us to stay focused on improving.”

“They’re the standard bearer for employment services,” Linda says of CARF. “They look at the overall organization and how it’s managed.”

Robin explains that “My work is around looking at the way we operate – working with individual teams to focus on best practices.”

CARF was founded in 1966. They are an independent, nonprofit accreditor of health and human services organizations. The CARF International group of companies currently accredits more than 50,000 programs and services at 23,000 locations.

CARF surveyors come from peer organizations. For example, this year two of the surveyors who evaluated Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota came from other Goodwill organizations.

Once the evaluation is received, work gets started on any recommendations given and preparation begins for the next CARF evaluation in three years. “We work on it all the time,” Linda says. “It’s a constant process of evaluation.” Robin adds that “you start preparing for the next one as soon as you get the accreditation.”

Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota’s president and CEO Michael Wirth-Davis discussed some details of the evaluation: “The surveyors spoke very enthusiastically about Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota, and noted several areas of strength they observed across the organization. Of the more than 1,300 standards on which Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota was evaluated there were ten recommendations for improvement. The recommendations are in areas we expect to be fairly straightforward to remedy and in some cases are already being addressed.”