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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498

Date: June 19, 2013


New Castle, DE - The Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) is pleased to announce that the Delaware Psychiatric Center (DPC) has passed its triennial Joint Commission survey on behavioral health and earned accreditation again. The Joint Commission conducted the survey at DPC over a period of four days, reviewing patient records, interviewing staff, inspecting the facility, checking safety and medical procedures, and more. The intensive review-which includes things as detailed as documentation testing the shutdown of the HVAC system- is viewed as the gold standard in the industry. DHSS uses the review to both identify successes and learn what needs to be improved.

"I am so pleased at the results of the Joint Commission review and the DPC earning accreditation again," said Rita Landgraf, DHSS Cabinet Secretary. "The State of Delaware has been on a long journey to improve access and quality for all mental health services; both at DPC and in the community. I commend the DPC leadership and staff for their work to improve services to our patients, our families, and the community. This survey is another step in the right direction as we work with our partners on creating a robust mental health system in Delaware."

Added Kevin Huckshorn, Director of the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, "I am particularly pleased that the Joint Commission highlighted the DPC staff commitment to excellence. It is important that we continually challenge ourselves to meet the needs of the people we serve."

The surveyors were complementary regarding DPC planning and treatment practices. The final report also presented opportunities for improvement in a limited number of areas including: infection control planning, treatment plan documentation, and ensuring medical and professional competencies are well documented. DPC is confident that it will address these areas for improvement within the timelines established by the Joint Commission.

The Life Safety Code, or the condition of the aging facility, was also flagged as a concern in the survey. This is an on-going challenge and DHSS Facilities Services is confident they will be able to correct any issue within the time required and looks forward to demonstrating the improvement.

"I value the Joint Commission survey because it shows me and my staff what is going well and what we can improve," said Greg Valentine, DPC Hospital Director. "We have been in constant survey preparation mode and will continue to make improvements to our delivery of services. Our goal is to always be ready for any survey that occurs so that we are constantly challenging ourselves to have the highest standard of care."

The Joint Commission Surveyors spoke very highly of the staff and services that DPC is providing. Some of their observations:

Accreditation provides an independent oversight mechanism and is required by the federal government in order to serve Medicaid and Medicare clients.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.