Todd Kramer Joins the CCHP-A Team
For Todd Kramer, MS, CCHP-A, it’s all about teamwork. Even one of his greatest professional accomplishments – attaining a spot among the elite group of correctional health professionals who have earned certification as a CCHP-Advanced – he did for the team. “Having someone on the team with the CCHP-A certification demonstrates the Department of Correction’s overall commitment to excellent health care service delivery,” he says, adding, “I hope to inspire others on my team to pursue certification too.”
Kramer is director of policy and standards compliance in the Delaware Department of Correction’s Bureau of Healthcare, Substance Abuse, and Mental Health Services. As such, he is responsible for applying, interpreting, and ensuring the accuracy of the department’s regulatory activities as they relate to health care. His duties include performing complex research; determining applicable state and federal laws/rules/regulations/precedents; preparing reports and recommending decisions; writing policy and procedures related to health care operations; overseeing statewide CQI activities; and managing multiple contracts related to health care and facility operations, including expenditures and budgets.
During more than 25 years with the Delaware Department of Correction, he has held a number of progressively responsible positions. He started as an officer and was promoted to corporal before deciding to move into the treatment side, where he worked as a senior correctional counselor, master counselor, and classification officer. He then moved into a leadership role as treatment supervisor at one of the department’s work release facilities and later joined the Bureau of Healthcare, Substance Abuse, and Mental Health Services as quality assurance director before assuming his current position in 2017.
“For as long as I can remember, I have always had a drive to help others,” he says. “Many of our incarcerated individuals are in very poor health when they come into our facilities. For me, being part of an amazing team of professionals who are dedicated to creating a system that provides quality health care is very rewarding. I know our team is making a difference in the lives of these individuals. I feel a deep sense of satisfaction knowing that many of them will get the help they need while incarcerated. I know we can’t save them all, but if we can save one, the reward is well worth effort.”
Four “Simple” Letters
Kramer became a CCHP in 2018 after taking the exam at the National Conference on Correctional Health Care. Says this team-oriented leader, “As the director of policy and accreditation, I wanted to show how dedicated we were to understanding and adhering to the best practices in correctional health care. I wanted to show that our team was committed to quality health care in our facilities.
“Those four simple letters demonstrate to others that you are someone who understands why and how things are done the way they are done.”
To prepare for the CCHP-A exam, a four-hour essay exam, Kramer says he attended NCCHC conferences as permitted, reread the NCCHC Standards books (which he already knew well, as his policies follow the standards very closely), and read NCCHC cofounder B. Jaye Anno’s classic book, “Correctional Health Care: Guidelines for the Management of an Adequate Delivery System.” He says, “Even though it was published in 2001, the book is still very relevant to today’s correctional health care systems. Much of what is described in the book is very much how we run correctional health care programs today.”
He went in to the exam feeling well-prepared, he says, but was thrown for a loop when he learned afterward how few CCHP-As there are. “I started to pay attention to who had the designation after their name – all people I hold in very high regard. I thought there was no way I was going to pass and join that elite group of people!”
His advice for others considering going for the CCHP or CCHP-A certification? “Attend training, especially the preconference seminars that focus on the standards. Learn to apply the standards in real-life situations. And take the leap – you are most likely more ready than you realize.”
Kramer has this to say about NCCHC: “I am very thankful to be associated with an organization that cares about how this underserved population receives health care. We all know that many of the incarcerated individuals we serve would not seek services on the street. Helping them get their health conditions under better control is a key piece of reentry. A healthier individual is less likely to reoffend, and NCCHC recognizes that. The standards themselves are a great tool for ensuring that these individuals receive quality health care.”