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The Daily



09-20-03: Mercer, Auglaize MR/DDs meet state standards


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.”
Special commendation
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.
Auglaize County
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 in practice.
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.


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