NCCHC Program of the Year Award

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This award recognizes programs of excellence among the thousands provided by accredited prisons, jails and juvenile facilities.

New Jersey Department of Corrections Continuous Quality Improvement Program

For health staff in the New Jersey prison system, continuous quality improvement isn’t viewed simply as an accreditation requirement, a task with eight compliance indicators to tick off. It’s part of their daily approach to their work, and something they celebrate.

To underscore this, the CQI program has a motto—“QI: It’s Everyone’s Business”— and new staff members learn about the program during orientation. Each year, CQI projects from various facilities are featured in a performance improvement fair, where teams share their work with their colleagues and a panel of judges scores the projects based on explicit criteria.

The CQI program emphasizes the partnership between the NJ DOC and its health and mental health services provider, Rutgers University Correctional Health Care. The goals are to foster a desire in staff to seek opportunities to improve services; to train them on QI concepts and practices that assist in meeting NCCHC standard P-A-06; to undertake data-driven improvement efforts; and to disseminate accurate and timely information to management and staff. The first performance improvement fair was held in 2006 and it’s been going strong ever since.

At the fair, a handout lists each facility and the names of the projects and team members. Prizes are given for first, second and third place in two categories—medical and mental health— and a “People’s Choice” award goes to one project. In 2017, 42 projects were submitted from 13 sites.