Grafton’s Risk Management Lauded

April 11, 2012

April 11, 2012
By Rebecca Layne


The Winchester Star
WINCHESTER — Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Resources Bill Hazel wanted to see firsthand what success looked like.

On Tuesday, Hazel did just that — touring the Grafton Integrated Health Network (GIHN) corporate office at 120 Bellview Ave. and congratulating officials on their second Negley President’s Award for Excellence in Risk Management.

According to its website, Negley Associates is the leading underwriting management firm in the U.S., serving the insurance needs of behavioral healthcare agencies and related Social Services.
The Negley Awards, the site states, are a series of cash grants presented annually to provider organizations who demonstrate excellence in risk management practices.

“What you see here at Grafton is the development of a program that reduces restraint and seclusion for clients,” Hazel said. “It improves care, and for an individual, that’s a much better way to be treated.”

GIHN serves high-risk children and adults with disabilities and significant emotional and/or behavioral challenges. The majority of clients are nonverbal and can’t live in the outside world. They often have trouble with manual dexterity and can sometimes be aggressive with a tendency to lash out.

In February, Grafton received the award for its “Safety Seven” — performance indicators established three years ago that are intended to keep clients and staff safe. A client is considered safe when all seven safety factors are in place.

According to the Safety Seven, a client should not:

Be left unsupervised.

Be involved in unwarranted physical restraint or seclusion.

Be involved in a vehicle accident caused by a GIHN driver.

Be involved in a medication error made by a GIHN employee.

Be the victim of peer-to-peer aggression.

Be the victim of a substantiated mistreatment, abuse or neglect incident by a GIHN employee.
Demonstrate self-injurious behavior that requires external medical attention.

According to Grafton President Jim Gaynor, Safety Seven — along with a cultural shift to minimize restraint on clients — has saved the organization $8.9 million over the past nine years in lost time, workers’ compensation and staff turnover.

“[The program] gives us data to make better decisions,” said Kim Sanders, executive vice president.

Gaynor said everybody wins when the organization does things the right way.

“By focusing on the best and highest-quality care that you can give a client…we found it was also really good from a staff and business standpoint, and really good for the bottom line,” he said.

Grafton has facilities in Winchester, Berryville, Sterling, Leesburg and Richmond — with more than 800 employees and 500 clients.

In 2008, Grafton won the Negley award for revolutionary non-coercive techniques to deal with difficult client behavior.

Grafton won the award both times it applied for it.

— Contact Rebecca Layne at