U.S. Army Health Clinic-Kaiserslautern earns NCQA success

by Staff Sgt. Christopher Whitaker U.S. Army Health Clinic-Kaiserslautern

Anyone that has worked in a medical facility knows that certification is very important to medical organizations. Anyone that’s ever worked in a hospital knows that when Joint Commission season comes around, you can almost taste the anticipation.

One might ask why it matters, and the answer is fairly simple: not only is it required by the Department of Defense but also a prime indicator of a health organization’s commitment to quality health care and care for patients.

In addition, the Joint Commission is the standard accreditation body for all U.S. civilian and Department of Defense medical facilities. The conflict is that Joint Commission standards and the inspection that comes along with them don’t always translate well to the standards for outpatient clinics.

While the Joint Commission still inspects and certifies primary care clinics, something more specific to those clinics was needed to establish and ensure quality-of-care standards are met.

The National Committee for Quality Assurance was created to do for outpatient clinics what the Joint Commission does for hospitals and other inpatient facilities.

NCQA requires the health organization to complete a rigorous survey, documenting procedures, performance and results. After all this is completed and submitted, the organization is ranked on a tiered three-point scale.

A result of “Level 1” states that the organization is heading in the right direction but isn’t quite there yet. A rating of “Level 2” is considered the standard for the DOD and implies that the organization is doing everything right and providing great care but is not exceptional. However, the rating of “Level 3” denotes superior achievement and effort by the organization and is a definite mark of distinction.

U.S. Army Health Clinic-Kaiserslautern, also known as Kleber Health Clinic, distinguished itself by earning that treasured Level 3 designation, not only showing its commitment to its patients and their care but also to the larger organization. Kleber scored an impressive 94.5 out of 100 possible points, one of the highest scores in Europe.

It was no small achievement, as Kleber was one of the only clinics in all of U.S. Army Europe that received that distinction. This is the second time in a row Kleber has received the Level 3 certification; the initial inspection was completed in 2014.

Even more impressive is that preparation took less than 90 days to complete, where the usual standard is closer to a year. This essentially means the staff was already operating at that level and all that was required was the documentation of the staff being able to maintain and improve the outstanding quality of care beneficiaries receive.

U.S. Army Health Clinic-Kaiserslautern is justifiably proud of their accomplishments and the highest level of recognition from the NCQA. It reflects all the endless hard work at the highest level of care by the health care team and demonstrates the commitment to providing outstanding quality care to all their beneficiaries.