By TIMOTHY COX
Staff members at Mental Retardation/Developmental Disabilities
programs in Mercer and Auglaize counties recently completed
the arduous task of gaining state accreditation.
County workers in both programs pulled together mountains of
documentation to certify that local programs meet state standards.
Their reward is three-year accreditation from the state department
of MR/DD signifying the local programs run according to state
standards and that all of their policies and procedures comply
with state and federal law.
“We have reason to be proud,” Mercer County MR/DD
Superin-tendent Mike Overman told The Daily Standard this week.
“I hope the community views this as a positive thing,
because it is.”
The few policy and procedural changes cited by the state department
personnel who conducted the accreditation process found only
a few shortcomings. They are all easily correctable and a plan
is already in place to make the necessary changes, Overman said.
Additionally, some specific aspects of the MR/DD programs were
held up for special commendation.
The Mercer County MR/DD program, often called Cheryl Ann, was
lauded by the state for its aggressive tracking of major unusual
incidents (MUI). MUI is state jargon for for virtually any accident
or incident that happens outside of normal operations. The county’s
tracking of the information allows officials to quickly see
developing trends and take necessary action, Overman said.
The Mercer County program also was praised for its community
interaction on two fronts. The state highlighted the MR/DD board’s
successful relationship with C.A. Employment Services which
places MR/DD clients and others into jobs within the community.
The county’s Coordination Transportation System, a joint
venture of Community Organiza-tions Linking Together and a number
of local agencies, provides transportation to low-income and
disabled adults for a number of purposes.
“The real purpose of the accreditation process is to be
able to show the people in the community that the program is
in compliance .... I think our community can feel pretty good
about Cheryl Ann and the work we do here,” Overman said.
The Auglaize County MR/DD program also received notification
that it has been accredited for the next three years. The successful
accreditation is a direct result of the staffs’s work,
Superintendent Alvin Willis said.
“It’s a reflection of the quality and effort that
was put in,” Willis said, adding that state officials
told him during an exit interview that the Auglaize program
is one of the top five in the state.
Both counties went through a similar process to gain their first
state accreditation. They spent months in the spring gathering
required documents and sections of policy and then shipping
copies off to Columbus. Staff members communicated with state
officials in Columbus and policy changes were updated throughout
the spring and early summer.
After that, state officials visited each program for four days.
The visit entailed more documentation and also a firsthand look
at operations, to see if the policies on the books are also
Overman said he expects the accreditation process to be easier
the next time around in three years.
Staff members will be familiar with the process and much of
the necessary material will be the same gathered for the current
process, he said.