By Kate Penz, Communications & Foundation Manager
With several clinics in southwest Michigan offering electrodiagnostic (EDX) services, Michelle L. Crooks of Healthcare Midwest searched for a way to stand apart. Dr. Crooks and her colleagues wanted to validate the laboratory’s quality through national accreditation. In May 2012, they found validation upon completion of AANEM’s EDX Laboratory Accreditation Program. Healthcare Midwest became the first EDX laboratory in the state of Michigan to receive accreditation, and it did so with exemplary status.
“The accreditation process has allowed us to showcase our excellence through a peer-reviewed process that is nationally recognized,” said Dr. Crooks. “Healthcare Midwest has always led the way in quality, innovative care for our community. Pursuing accreditation for our laboratory is a natural extension of this pursuit of excellence."
Healthcare Midwest, a multispecialty, physician-governed group with more than 70 providers, offers neurodiagnostic testing by referral from providers both within and outside of the practice. One physician and one technologist provide services in the EMG laboratory.
After participating in the accreditation process, Healthcare Midwest providers are, according to Dr. Crooks, “More mindful of discussing challenging or difficult cases to discern how we can better address patients’ needs.” And while Dr. Crooks admits the accreditation process took time and attention, she said the value it provides is worth it. “It is not as overwhelming as it initially seems if reduced to multiple, manageable portions.”
The process begins with the laboratory staff completing an application and gathering supporting materials. The applications are reviewed by the AANEM Accreditation Committee, which recommends to the association’s Board of Directors whether the laboratory should be granted accreditation. The laboratories that receive accreditation enter a five-year cycle for reaccreditation.
According to Dr. Crooks, the value of accreditation may be even higher in the future. “Many payers are starting to direct patient bases to accredited facilities for their care. If this trend continues, accreditation will not only serve to validate quality but will also be essential to maximizing reimbursement.
“Due to AANEM’s high standards, the accreditation program provides a level of credibility to a lab’s claims of quality,” she added. “In the end, it is worth the recognition.”