Having been and administrator for many years and always trying to anticipate where or what a potential problem could be, I always relied on incident reporting as one very important tool. The incident reporting system of Therap has always provided a variety of means to report and help one focus on areas where training or other interventions could be used. For some time now the State of New York has been looking at standardizing this information in order to look at issues the same way an agency would but at a State level.

We have been fortunate to work with a dynamic group of people at the state level who have been working with us in allowing our incident report system to upload into the state system, known as IRMA,  thus allowing a provider to retain the dynamic integrated system of recording and reporting while also providing similar data to the state without duplicate entry. Once the mandate is released I am confident we will have the means to comply. We have heard for some time now that this would be a mandate for all providers and you can read the latest from the Commissioner below.

From: OPWDD-Commissioners Correspondence Unit

[mailto:Commissioners.Correspondence.Unit@opwdd.ny.gov] Sent: Thursday, June 02, 2011 9:50 AM
To: OPWDD-Commissioners Correspondence Unit

Subject: Incident Report Management Application (IRMA) Message fromCommissioner Burke

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

In recent weeks, OPWDD has implemented several improvements in relation to incidents of abuse and neglect, in an effort to enhance the oversight and protections provided to the people with developmental disabilities we serve. Most recently, OPWDD announced a vital initiative which mandates that both DDSOs and voluntary agency providers use OPWDD’s Incident Report and Management Application (IRMA) to report incidents and allegations of abuse.

Unveiled in 2008, IRMA is a Web-based electronic application that provides a comprehensive system for oversight and monitoring of incident reporting. All DDSOs have been inputting information into IRMA for some time, and some nonprofits have had access, as well. Going forward, OPWDD will be requiring that all voluntary providers submit their allegations of abuse and serious reportable incident reports through this online application. By using IRMA across-the-board as the method for reporting incidents, it will allow OPWDD to create more real-time information to use for assessment and analysis.

The implementation of IRMA is about system improvement. As you know, incident management has taken on high visibility in the past several months. We recognize that systematically, incident management is an area we can and must improve in the developmental disabilities system.

One of the main goals and objectives of IRMA is standardization. We will be looking at reports and trending data. Our leadership team will be working with OPWDD’s Regulatory Affairs—as well as staff in the DDSOs and in the voluntary sector—to design trend reports that will provide us with consistent information throughout the entire service system. With this, we will be able to formulate uniform best practices.

Trainings on IRMA for voluntaries are currently taking place and are expected to be completed by the end of August. Attendance is required at sessions, and each agency will be allowed to send two representatives to be trained. The two people who have been trained may, in turn, train additional personnel who access IRMA for their agency. An emergency regulation will be announced when these training sessions are complete.

Incident management is critical to the OPWDD’s mission of helping people with developmental disabilities live richer lives. We must ensure that individuals are safe from harm and that we have systems in place that support swift and appropriate actions. This improvement, is one in a series of critical steps we are taking toward vital programmatic, administrative, and fiscal reform, and I am very excited to be taking part in this process with all of you.

Sincerely,

Commissioner Burke