By Nick SJanuary 31, 2018
Two years ago, the then-named Moncrief Army Community Hospital earned Army Safety and Health Management System (ASHMS) "Safety Star" recognition. When the hospital transitioned to an outpatient clinic, inspectors returned and the newly minted Moncrief Army Health Clinic easily earned a new certification. Now, the clinic is already preparing for a renewal inspection by maintaining and improving the high level of safety standards that earned recognition in the first place.
"The Army Safety and Health Management System is based on the OSHA Voluntary Protection Program," Jim Bonkowske, US Army Medical Activity Fort Jackson (MEDDAC FJ) Safety Officer, said. "Organizations that have achieved this level of recognition show a fifty percent decrease in injuries. In order to accomplish this goal, we had to change the way safety was looked at in the organization. We went from safety being a person or position, an additional step we were forced to do, to safety being ingrained in everything we do from start to finish. Some organizations will struggle mightily and never be able to instill that change."
According to Bonkowske, MEDDAC FJ has consistently performed better than the bureau of labor statistics published industry standards.
"In 2017, we had a total case incident rate (TCIR) of 1.0 where the average for outpatient clinics in the U.S. was 2.3," he said.
In order to receive the initial recognition, MEDDAC FJ staff spent months of preparing for the inspection. According to Bonkowske, this meant a great deal of training and "self-policing."
"We have Additional Duty Safety Officers assigned in each of our work centers, soldiers and civilians who have been instrumental in building our program," he said. "They developed training tools, set up peer inspections, and brought the safety mindset back to their worksites."
Those additional duty safety officers continue their mission and combined with other efforts, have helped the MEDDAAC maintain its incredibly low incident rate. Safety messages are routinely sent out to all staff and a monthly safety newsletter, The Quality Corner, is published electronically. Although the recertification inspection is nearly a year away, Bonkowske says current efforts will help ensure continued success.
"Recertification will be in the 1st quarter 2019m somewhere between January and March depending upon inspector availability," he said. "We'll have DoD personnel, contract personnel and MEDCOM representation that make up the inspection team."