Improving quality of care
The Consumer Quality Team of Maryland empowers individuals who receive services to become partners with providers, policy makers, and family members to improve the quality of care in the public behavioral health system.
CQT is staffed entirely by behavioral health consumers and family members. CQT defines a consumer as someone who has lived experience with mental illness and/or substance use disorders. CQT defines family member as someone who has a close relationship with a consumer.
Behavioral health consumers have significant personal knowledge and experience, and our team members and associates value their voices. We value:
- The knowledge that individuals with behavioral health diagnoses are resilient; they can and do recover to lead healthy and productive lives.
- The right of individuals with behavioral health diagnoses to be equal partners in their health care.
- The important role of health care professionals in the treatment of individuals with behavioral health diagnoses.
- The important role of family/chosen-family support in the treatment of individuals with behavioral illness.
- A diverse network of providers and policy makers who deliver behavioral health services in a culturally competent manner.
- Education and ethical research designed to improve the quality of life for individuals and their families living with behavioral health diagnoses.
- Open-mindedness and avoiding blame.
- Address the needs and concerns of individuals served by the public behavioral health system to effect positive change.
- Provide consumer feedback to improve quality at the provider/program level.
- Provide consumer feedback to improve quality at the system level.
“Diversity must be broadly understood, recognizing the diversity of human experience and the variety of ways in which people process and experience life. Respecting that diversity is crucial to ending discrimination. Peer-led movements and self-help groups, which help to normalize human experiences that are considered unconventional, contribute towards more tolerant, peaceful and just societies.” – Section V. Right to Mental Health Frameworks, D. Non-discrimination, pg 11 Dainius Puras. (March 28, 2017). Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. United Nations Human Rights Council Document.
Supporters from mental health organizations across Maryland collaborated to build the Consumer Quality Team of Maryland.
Based on the reported success of other consumer quality programs, a group formed in the 1990s to advocate bringing such a program to Maryland. This working group included consumers, family members, providers, advocates, Core Service Agencies, and the Behavioral Health Administration. The team evaluated similar programs in other jurisdictions and concluded that a program active in Philadelphia was the preferred model to reach Maryland consumers.
The Consumer Satisfaction Team, Inc. of Philadelphia is the first consumer/family run quality assurance agency. Since 1990, they have successfully resolved consumers’ problems and formed successful partnerships with providers by collecting information without judgment or blame and focusing on problem resolution.
CQT began site visits in January 2007. Within the first few weeks, specific areas of consumer dissatisfaction were identified. Providers made immediate changes based on CQT’s findings and consumers reported substantial improvement. The Behavior Health Administration expanded the program to every county in Maryland after hearing positive feedback about the CQT process from both consumers and providers. The program was further expanded to include visits to youth programs, RTCs, RICAs, Wellness and Recovery Centers, and Substance Use Recovery Centers.