The Center for Human Development, Inc. (CHD) is one of Western Massachusetts’ largest and most successful social services organization dedicated to promoting, enhancing, and protecting the dignity and welfare of people in need. The agency delivers a broad array of critical social and mental health services to over 18,000 people each year.
CHD is driven by a focus on excellence and a spirit of innovation. As a non-profit organization, our only motivation is helping people create successful lives. All of our relationships are rooted in respect – for our clients, for the communities we are honored to serve, for our colleagues, and for all the lives we touch.
How it all started
is a very complex agency with over 70 programs that serve more than 18,000 individuals, families, and children each year across two states. Michelle Cove was brought in as CHD’s Director of Compliance in July 2018.
“This is a big job for a rather small department. Between 1972, when CHD began, to today, we have grown by leaps and bounds. Equally so have the demands of the regulatory environment. We have 8 different regulatory bodies; eight that don’t speak the same language, that combined account for nearly 1,000 regulations and over 400 standards, all needing oversight. That being said, truly the most important part of my job is to ensure that we remain focused on the people we serve.” said Michelle.
When she joined the agency, Michelle was entrusted with a huge responsibility to find a way to bring together all the regulatory requirements across the agency in one location. As a large entity, CHD did have some manual processes where they could pull together how people were performing & meeting compliance obligations across these silos. However, the traditional methods lacked accountability and staff were vulnerable to missing deadlines for their responsibilities.
Some of the biggest challenges were that the information that was needed from the programs was standard within each program, but not across the agency. Michelle needed to come up with a way of presenting things that was agreeable to all; she needed a system for the whole agency.
She said, “A tool was needed that could map the complex structure of our programs, centralize our documentation and provide reminders to staff and escalations to leadership when a non-compliance occurred.”
In August of 2018, during Michelle’s first month into her role, the agency was engaged in about 3 weeks of CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) surveys across all of their divisions. The survey teams said that this was one of the largest surveys they had conducted at one time. In the year prior to the survey, all documentation was gathered from every program and department and stored in electronic files. Departments and staff spent countless hours searching for documents and organizing the hundreds of policies. All of this hard work paid off and CHD earned a 3-year CARF accreditation for every program that was reviewed.
The problem facing Michelle was that the manual electronic file system was not sustainable. She felt strongly that if she could standardize and automate the process and remove much of the administrative burden, all of the program staff and the people they serve would benefit. CHD’s experience with VComply started off with a single email from Michelle seeking information to help them build a stronger compliance, risk and governance structure for their agency.
Making the move from spreadsheets to VComply
Dan Sadowski joined CHD a few months after Michelle as the Quality & Compliance Specialist. His quality and compliance responsibilities impact all of the programs run by the agency. He serves as the company representative on regulatory issues, enhances operational procedures, systems, and principles in the area of information flow, management, and business process. Dan is also responsible to set and implement policies, procedures, and systems in the organization. As part of the Compliance team, Dan reviews and analyzes quality & compliance data to identify trends and gaps.
“Programs were managing their compliance requirements in a variety of ways, the problem was they all had different sets of rules and ways they stored their evidence. Often a series of emails were required just to confirm a simple obligation. The abundance of documents for policies and procedures can get overwhelming at times,” said Dan.