Monitoring quality of care for veterans in the homeless services system

Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Pavilion Ballroom (Hilton Portland)
Jennifer Knapp, LCSW (Supervisory Social Worker, Health Care for Homeless Veterans)
This poster describes an approach to resolving discontinuity in quality assurance measures used by various agencies involved in homeless services. Many Continuum of Cares (CoCs) have implemented quality assurance (QA) standards, and many non-profit agencies have internal QA mechanisms. However, the lack of standardization between agencies leads to varying definitions of quality. When partnerships are formulated between agencies & across systems, this lack of standardization leads to discrepancies between the services intended and those actually received. Common themes through these various CoC Quality Assurance Standards include: Accessibility, Accommodation, Advocacy, and Service. These standard themes have been adopted as indicators in the VA Palo Alto Health Care Systems Health Care For Homeless Veterans Quality Assurance Surveillance Plan (QASV) to ensure quality services are delivered to homeless Veterans. This study examines whether Quality Assurance measures defined in contracts and in the QASV are accurately translated across partnerships and improve outcomes for homeless Veterans in the emergency shelter system. Outcome data is utilized in a rating scale in the public database for government contractors called Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS). By comparing CPARS scores to changes made in policies and service delivery in contracted shelters, this poster explains why concrete, standardized, QA protocols are an important evolutionary step in delivering homeless services.