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With Record(s) of Compliance, Incident Review Committee (IRC) Audit Furthers Hamaspik Excellence

State Review of Agency In-house Panel Finds No Deficiencies In Internal Processes

August 14, '15

By Mendy Hecht, Hamaspik Gazette

Even without state regulations, self-policing is something every respectable human-services agency should do—which is exactly why Hamaspik does it.

But self-imposed internal controls notwithstanding, every non-profit providing services to the disability community in partnership with the New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) is required to maintain an Incident Review Committee (IRC).

Said body exists to both review incidences of adverse behavior or occurrences among individuals and/or staff, and to establish proactive plans to prevent future such incidences.

And at its most recent IRC audit by the OPWDD, Hamaspik emerged with flying colors—with auditors reporting in June that no regulatory deficiencies were found.

By state requirement, every IRC must consist of a diversity of members to best reflect the full spectrum of the disability community and the disability-care experience—including at least one individual with disability supported by the agency in question.

As such, Hamaspik’s IRC is comprised of one resident of Hamaspik of Orange County’s Bakertown Shvesterheim IRA.

To further maximize and underscore the diversity of voices involved in disability care, Hamaspik’s IRC also consists of a non-Hamaspik employee who is a family member of an individual cared for by the agency, as well as a Hamaspik Direct Support Professional (DSP) on the front lines of disability care.

Said IRC members, which include Hamaspik of Orange County’s MSC Supervisor, Director of Day Services and Director of Residential Services—regularly meet to painstakingly pick apart any adverse incident.

Working not unlike an internal-affairs review of an officer’s questionable conduct at a police department, all parties involved are rigorously grilled, with timelines established down to the minutest details. 

Also fastidiously scrutinized are the circumstances and variables that allowed the incident in question to occur in the first place—say, a momentary lapse in DSP vigilance, especially in the case of individuals with significant flight risk.

All variables are duly considered and no holds are barred.  Painful and tough questions are asked. 

It also goes without saying, naturally, that anything that rises to the level of abuse or neglect is quickly reported as required to the Justice Center, the state’s comprehensive and relatively new disability protection body.

Avraham Flohr, Hamaspik of Orange County’s Training Coordinator, Quality Improvement (QI) officer and in-house Investigator, is no stranger to rigid regulation—he’s not only a practiced paramedic but a paramedic trainer, too.

Under Mr. Flohr’s watchful eye as IRC investigator, any and all Hamaspik incidents involving individuals with special needs are given objective scrutiny, treated with the same professional adherence to rules and regulations that paramedics give medical emergencies.

The OPWDD audit found that the Hamaspik IRC had handled everything to the letter of the law—a finding that not only furthers Hamaspik’s exemplary insistence on excellence in all regulatory matters, but also the five-star care and compassion towards the individuals with disabilities in the community that it serves.